When taps run dry

Sun.Star Pampanga - - TOPSTORIES! - NINI B. CABAERO

DE­SPITE see­ing faucets go dry or hav­ing their wa­ter ra­tioned, Filipinos show vary­ing lev­els of con­cern about drought, a study con­ducted by the Har­vard Hu­man­i­tar­ian Ini­tia­tive (HHI) said.

Only 12 per­cent of Filipinos re­ported feel­ing ex­tremely con­cerned about be­ing af­fected by drought, the HHI Disas­terNet Philip­pines study said. The study, con­ducted in 2017 with 4,368 adult re­spon­dents, is the first na­tion­wide house­hold sur­vey on dis­as­ter pre­pared­ness in the Philip­pines, an HHI press re­lease said.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, at the na­tional av­er­age, only 12 per­cent of Filipinos re­ported feel­ing ex­tremely con­cerned, 24 per­cent were con­cerned, 21 per­cent were some­what con­cerned, 16 per­cent were a lit­tle con­cerned, and 26 per­cent were not at all con­cerned of be­ing af­fected by drought.

In re­gions where there was less rain­fall in the last five months as­so­ci­ated with the weak El Niño in the Pa­cific Ocean, less than half of each re­gion’s pop­u­la­tion ex­pressed any con­cern about be­ing im­pacted by drought, the study sai d.

It added that in Zam­boanga Penin­sula, where Zam­boanga del Sur and Zam­boanga Sibugay have been ex­pe­ri­enc­ing drought since Fe­bru­ary this year, only 25 per­cent were con­cerned about drought be­fore the dis­as­ter. Zam­boanga City, Zam­boanga Sibugay and Pagadian City have al­ready been placed un­der a state of calamity.

The study said, in terms of pre­pared­ness, a mere 2.4 per­cent of the coun­try’s pop­u­la­tion re­ported hav­ing a plan for dr ought .

In ad­di­tion, the study showed that fewer Filipinos, 4.3 per­cent, think that the de­layed on­set of the rainy sea­son is a con­se­quence of cli­mate change. Even as a sig­nif­i­cant part of the pop­u­la­tion, 42 per­cent, cited that the im­pact of cli­mate change poses a high level of threat to them and 83 per­cent said they had ex­pe­ri­enced the ef­fects of cli­mate change.

The weather bureau said a weak El Niño started this month and will con­tinue in May. Rain­fall this year is ex­pected to start in June and con­tinue to Au­gust.

Look­ing at these per­cent­ages, you would see how con­sumers are con­cerned only about the im­me­di­ate, that there is no wa­ter for cook­ing, laun­dry and bathing, and not re­al­ize what came be­fore and what could hap­pen in the fu­ture.

They com­plain about no wa­ter but they do not think of what must have caused it ex­cept to point to the so-called usual sus­pects–cor­rupt govern­ment of­fi­cials and ir­re­spon­si­ble wa­ter ser­vice providers.

But cli­mate change is a fac­tor to why the dry sea­son started early or the wet sea­son will be de­layed. And what are the causes of cli­mate change? Prac­tices of com­pa­nies or in­di­vid­u­als that dam­age the en­vi­ron­ment.

There is no more deny­ing that cli­mate change is here and is caus­ing wa­ter, air and food sup­ply to go awry.

This was the same mes­sage of stu­dents who walked out of their class­rooms in over 100 coun­tries to protest cli­mate in­ac­tion in a “global cli­mate strike.” They said their gov­ern­ments failed them and fu­ture gen­er­a­tions by not act­ing to curb global warm­ing and car­bon emis­sions.

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