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Earth Day marked: ‘Environmental Issues’ that caught Cebuanos’ attention this 2024

By: Jessa Ngojo - CDN Social Media Specialist April 22,2024 - 09:31 AM

On commemorating Earth Day: Some of Cebu's Environmental Concerns

On commemorating Earth Day: Some of Cebu’s Environmental Concerns

CONSOLACION, Cebu – Who truly is responsible for preserving the essence of Cebu’s charm and vitality?

As we commemorate Earth Day today, on April 22, we dedicate this day to those tirelessly fighting for the betterment of our planet and, consequently, our local environment.

However, amid our celebration, let’s reflect on the environmental events that have poked the Queen City of the South and the underlying causes that pushed it to the current state, leaving lasting impacts still felt and remembered today.

What does Earth Day stand for?, the official site for Earth Day, defines Earth Day as an annual global call to action for environmental preservation. Launched in 1970, its inaugural event, held in the US, aimed to gather like-minded individuals willing to demonstrate support environmental protection.

Their cause grew larger each year, spreading to neighboring countries until it reached a global scale. In their fifth year, they stand stronger than ever, gaining increasing recognition for the cause they built years ago, especially now as environmental problems slowly arise.

As for Cebu, we may recall environmental problems raised earlier this year.

Environmental concerns that stunned Cebuanos

In the early months of 2024, Cebuanos may have a fair share of occurrences that would make them think of Mother Nature, events that caused debates, misunderstandings, and much talking.

Today, we’ll confront these concerns, aiming for this article to serve as a stark reminder of environmental mishaps.

1. Soon-to-rise Cebu Provincial Capitol in Balamban town, Cebu

On March 21, 2024, netizens and Cebuanos were moved from their seats when photos of the alleged new site of the new Cebu Provincial Capitol office in Barangay Cambuhawe, Balamban, in western Cebu were released on social media, showing a mountaintop that was flattened with a road attached to its one side.

Consequently, the Provincial Government announced plans in February 2023 to relocate the seat of power from Capitol Road compound along N. Escario St. in Cebu City, to Balamban, where they would then repurpose the 86-year-old building into a museum.

The post sparked unrest among netizens and stirred up an uproar among Cebuanos and those outside Cebu City.

Many voiced concerns about the potential environmental consequences of this project, with some questioning if humanity deserves the planet we currently inhabit.

However, in a recent update on March 23, Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia clarified that the site was not for the new Capitol building but for nationally funded road projects.

She elaborated that the cleared site in Balamban is where the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Region 7 is constructing an access road.

2. Fecal coliform levels in towns of Mactan Island and Moalboal town in Cebu

Imagine someone relaxing at the beach, soaking in the sun and enjoying the sea breeze, unaware that they may be swimming in seawater mixed with drops from sewage.

On March 14, 2024, the Regional Development Council here (RDC-7) presented during its full meeting and disclosed that certain popular tourist spots in Central Visayas have poor water quality, potentially making them unsuitable for swimming.

These areas were found to have elevated levels of fecal coliform, a type of bacteria commonly associated with untreated sewage. This prompted the council to urge the government to take action.

In a March report by CDN Digital, the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) revealed coliform levels exceeding the safe threshold of 100 Most Probable Number (MPN) per 100 ml along the East Coast of Mactan Island, the coasts of Moalboal town in southern Cebu, and Panglao Island in Bohol.

As summer peaks, people seek refuge from the sun in places like these. In response, RDC-7 advised local governments to devise action plans to reduce coliform levels in these areas.

3. State of Guadalupe River

For years, reports on the state of the Guadalupe River, much like its accumulation of trash, have persisted over time.

However, a social media post by CDN Digital on March 31, revealing the Guadalupe River brimming with trash, has triggered a domino effect, prompting authorities to take immediate action.

On April 3, 2024, Cebu City Environment and Natural Resources (CCENRO), alongside the Education and Environment Team (EERT), Gubat sa Baha River troopers, Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CCDRRMO), and the Public Information Office (PIO) of Cebu City Hall united to kickstart the massive cleaning operation.

A report from the Cebu City PIO’s Facebook page stated that they collected approximately 20 tons of trash during the cleanup. They also noted that the bio-fence, deployed to contain garbage in the area, significantly reduced the risk of waste reaching the open sea.

Guadalupe cleanup on April 3, 2024.

Guadalupe River cleanup, April 3, 2024. | Photo Credits: Cebu City News and Information/ FB

While commendable, individuals must remember that the responsibility for keeping their surroundings clean ultimately falls on them. Also, it’s important not to forget that Cebu has an active Anti-Littering ordinance in effect.

Collective effort makes the ‘dream’ work

As much as people desire nature to heal itself, inhabitants must also make an effort to contribute to its restoration. Only through collective effort and responsible action can we ensure the preservation of our natural environment for future generations.

However, it’s crucial to remember that those in power play a significant role in implementing rules and regulations. As long as constituents are willing to adhere to these rules, we can look forward to celebrating many more Earth Days in the future.

Like tending to young seedlings, one must consistently nurture the soil for balance, provide ongoing care, and remove weeds and pests to cultivate healthier and greener produce, like fostering one delicate ecosystem to another.

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TAGS: Cebu, Earth Day

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