Scientists called for better management of Southeast Asia's marine protected areas, especially in the Philippines whose coral reefs rank as among the most threatened in the region. Philippine coral reefs, the second largest in the region, are facing severe threats from overfishing, destructive fishing, and sedimentation and pollution.
Rural areas in eastern regions, which typically enjoy higher levels of industrialization and urbanization, have suffered most from pollution. Various forms of pollution not only threaten the health of hundreds of millions of rural inhabitants, but also affect the urban population through contaminated water, air and food. Zhou Shengxian, Minister of Environmental Protection, recently revealed the extent of rural pollution; he stated that the waste discharged into water in rural areas accounted for 48 percent of total waste.
Villagers of the small fishing town of Vunisinu, Fiji were at a mad scramble to find out why their catch was diminishing by the day, only to discover that the causes were of their own making. Household wastewater pollution, over-fishing, and mangrove destruction were pushing the sea’s resources to its limits. What prompt actions did Vunisinu residents engineer to stop the destruction of their environment and source of livelihood?
In many cases of river pollution, solutions dawn easily once communities become concerned about its effects to their health and the environment.
In Nantai Island, at the heart of Fuzhou City in the People's Republic of China (PRC), the inland river system served as the garbage and wastewater collector for ever-growing urban communities for years. Now, Nantai Island’s inland rivers are getting the much needed cleanup they deserve—all because village residents began to care.
ADB has approved a US$ 500 million loan to clean up the Citarum River, the worlds most polluted river. Rapid urbanization and industrial growth have resulted in growing quantities of sewage, solid waste and industrial effluents being dumped in the Citarum River, compromising public health and the livelihoods of poor fishing families.
A joint report of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Department of Health (DOH) and the World Bank highlights the importance of environmental improvements for safeguarding human health in the country.
According to the latest Philippines Environment Monitor, air and water pollution, and the lack of good sanitation and hygiene practices are the most significant environment-related health risks in the Philippines, accounting for an estimated 22 percent of the reported disease cases and six percent of reported deaths and costing PHP14.3 billion (approximately US$287 million) per year in lost income and medical expenses.
Most of the water supply systems in African mega-cities are based on groundwater. Unplanned and rapid urban expansion has put enormous pressure on this natural resource, which becomes polluted from excessive use of fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides as well as effluents from leaky sewerage systems, septic tanks, leaky fuel tanks, factories or pollutants from solid waste (garbage) dumps.