Archive for May, 2010

Philippine Oil Spills: Prevention, Response and Rehabilitation

by Robert Leonard Goco

On August 11, 2006, the oil tanker M/T Solar I with two million liters of bunker fuel sank in the strait of Guimaras, just off the coast of Guimaras and Negros Occidental. Five hundred thousand liters of oil were spilt to the sea, affecting large areas of coastline and rich fishing grounds; damaging local biodiversity and livelihoods of many. This environmental and economic disaster was declared by the president as a national calamity and deemed the worst oil spill experienced by the Philippines with its effects still being felt until now and theorized to last for two generations. Read the rest of this entry »

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Effects of Climate Change on Freshwater Ecosystems

Only 1% of the earth’s surface is comprised of freshwater ecosystems (WRI 1999). Lakes, rivers, ponds, streams and wetlands are all freshwater environments (WRI 1999). Climate change has several detrimental effects on freshwater ecosystems, such as “increased water temperatures, decreased dissolved oxygen levels, and the increased toxicity of pollutants“ (Ficke et al. 2007). In lakes, ponds or swamps, climate change can aggravate eutrophication, a pollution problem (Ficke et al. 2007). An increase in temperatures of rivers, lakes or streams, could influence viability of various fish species (Ficke et al. 2007). Cold-water species that are unable to tolerate warmer water temperatures may eventually die out. The extinction of several freshwater species will greatly affect food webs in the ecosystem. Climate change also causes sea levels to rise. Rising sea levels may cause saltwater to intrude into freshwater habitats (Gorder 2010). An increase in salinity will kill many freshwater fish species that aren’t accustomed to higher levels of salinity. Drought is also an effect of climate change in freshwater ecosystems that hinders agricultural production and public accessibility to potable water. Climate change will ultimately result in a shortage of freshwater supply, which is essential to all life forms as drinking water (Gorder 2010). Shortage will cause increase in usable water’s selling price, subsequently raising standards of living further, causing socioeconomical problems.

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Earthquakes

Earthquakes are caused by seismic waves which result from an unexpected release of energy in the Earth’s crust.  They also occur when geological faults rupture, when volcanoes become active and sometimes follow a landslide or a significant explosion. The ground beneath our feet shakes and tremors and it usually suffers significant damage (cracks, etc.) Earthquakes leave a wake of destruction in their path – buildings collapse, roads are destroyed and lives are lost. The most recent earthquake in the Philippines occurred on March 25, 2010 in Mindoro with a magnitude of 6.1 on the Moment magnitude scale. There were no listed fatalities.

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