Country water actions are stories that showcase water reforms undertaken by individuals,communities, organizations, and governments in Asia-Pacific countries and elsewhere.
Country Water ActionsPhilippines: River Waste Goes Up in Smoke and Helps Poor Fisherfolk in theProcess
ENVIRONMENTAL ARMY PUTS RIVER WASTE INTOEARTHLY USE
An environmental army in Calauan, Laguna has taken thematter of cleaning up the Laguna Lake Basin into their ownhands and making money out of it in the process.The concept of the project "River Ecosystem Revival andEnhancement through the Utilization of Recovered Materialsfor Energy, Carbon Mitigation and Poverty Alleviation" is tomake charcoal briquettes and environment-friendly organicfertilizer out of waste while cleaning up the river. Itprovides livelihood to poor fisherfolk and createsopportunities for small business enterprises around theLaguna de Bay region in the provinces of Rizal and Lagunaand in Metro Manila.The project was funded by the Asian Development Bank andwas adjudged winner in last year's Panibagong Paraan: thefirst Development Marketplace in the Philippines, facilitatedby the World Bank with international development partners,government, civil society and the private sector. With thetheme, "Making Services Work for the Poor," PanibagongParaan provided about P1-million funding to most of thewinning innovative projects that addressed the theme.
FUEL FROM SCRAP
Large volumes of wastematerials which otherwiseare discarded and left torot are collected fromrivers and streams toundergo a carbonizingprocess until they areconverted into charcoalbriquettes. Abandonedbio-mass such as coconutwastes and waterhyacinth are processedinto useful energy-givingcharcoal briquettes,offering a betteralternative toenvironmentally-harmfulmethods of charcoal-making such as burningand cutting of trees."The project offers thesehost of environmentalbenefits and provides livelihood opportunities formarginalized sectors," says Jose K. Carino III, projectproponent and community development division chief of theLaguna Lake Development Authority based in Calauan,Laguna, which formed the 300-strong Laguna de BayEnvironmental Army Foundation, Inc. to implement theproject. The Ecosystems Research and Development Bureauis the primary partner-organization of the project.The project also helps minimize carbon dioxide emissionsinto the atmosphere since converting abandoned bio-massinto useful energy-giving charcoal briquettes results in theconservation of dwindling forest areas. It is estimated thatfor every ton of charcoal briquettes produced, at least 75trees are saved; and for every 1.3 hectares of waterhyacinth removed from the lake, 0.14 hectares of forestplantations are saved.There are 21 river systems that flow into the Laguna Lake,one of Southeast Asia's largest inland bodies of water. Theproliferation of water hyacinth coupled with theindiscriminate dumping of garbage into the waterways haschoked the lakeshore areas and the river systems that flowinto the lake. Laguna de Bay is being eyed as a potentialsource of water supply for Metro Manila. The projectscontributes to the clean-up of the lake by offering asustainable waste recovery system while offering alternativelivelihood opportunities for the poor fisherfolk around thebasin who depend on the lake for a living.