Greenpeace and Laguna youth call for longer-lasting solutions to pollution

Laguna, 19 September 2009. Greenpeace today challenged government officials and aspirants to step up and include in their political platforms measures to ensure the protection of the country’s water sources, pointing out that bodies of water like Laguna Lake and Manila Bay are at the end of a pipeline of pollution coming from upstream communities, factories, and other contributors.

“We need political leaders that are more aggressive and decisive in pushing forward policies that will effectively protect Laguna Lake and other water basins,” said Beau Baconguis, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Toxics Campaigner. “Spineless leaders who condone pollution and destruction should be made a thing of the past through the 2010 elections.”

Greenpeace made the call during Laguna Lake clean up operations in Pila, Laguna, part of International Coastal Clean-up Day activities. Members of the Greenpeace Water Patrol, scouring the lake in inflatable boats and kayaks, assisted hundreds of community-based youths and students from Laguna, as well as volunteers from the EcoWaste Coalition, the Laguna Provincial Government, particularly the Youth Development Affairs Office (YDA), the Municipality of Pila, Barangay Pinagbayanan, and the Laguna Lake Development Authority. The operation swept through shorelands and tributaries of Laguna Lake in Pila.

This is the second year of Greenpeace’s partnership with the Laguna YDA to highlight the pollution that continues to threaten Laguna Lake. Solid waste, while the most obvious and certainly not small, is just part of an even bigger problem. Other important contributors to pollution are industrial chemicals, agricultural run-offs and raw sewage. All these have to be addressed right away, especially in light of plans for the Laguna Lake Water Basin to become the source for drinking water in Metro Manila and Southern Luzon.

Fatima Villaseñor, Coordinator for the Laguna YDA, called on the youth “to actively work towards ensuring that our water sources are protected from waste and other environmentally destructive activity. We need to remind our leaders that the Earth is not something we inherit from our ancestors, but something we borrow from our children.”

“There are thousands of groups doing coastal clean-up today, but a clean-up is only an end-of-pipe measure to stem the visible waste problem. The efforts that our youth undertake need to be augmented with more lasting solutions, which lie in stopping pollution from the source. Clean Production is the way forward,” added Baconguis.

Clean Production entails substantial reductions in waste, eliminating toxic chemicals from products and product processes, finding cleaner and more benign substitutes and ensuring that systems for the return of products that have reached their end-of-life are made a responsibility of the manufacturer or waste generator.

Greenpeace is an independent, global campaigning organization that acts to change attitudes and behaviour, to protect and conserve the environment, and to promote peace.