Republic Act No.

9275 Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004 The Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004 (Republic Act No. 9275) aims to protect the country’s water bodies from pollution from land-based sources (industries and commercial establishments, agriculture and community/household activities). It provides for a comprehensive and integrated strategy to prevent and minimize pollution through a multisectoral and participatory approach involving all the stakeholders. Management of water quality will either be based on watershed, river basin or water resources region. Water quality management areas with similar hydrological, hydrogeological, meteorological or geographic conditions which affect the reaction and diffusion of pollutants in water bodies are to be designated by the DENR in coordination with the National Water Resources Board (NWRB). How will discharges of wastewater be controlled? All owners or operators of facilities that discharge wastewater are required to get a permit to discharge from the DENR or the Laguna Lake Development Authority. Existing industries without any permit are given 12 months from the effectivity of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) promulgated pursuant to this Act to secure a permit to discharge. How will domestic wastewater be addressed? The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), in coordination with local government units will prepare a national program on sewage and septage management not later than 12 months from effectivity of this Act. A priority list will likewise be prepared which will be the basis for the allotment of funds on an annual basis by the national government for the construction and rehabilitation of required facilities. On the other hand, LGUs are to provide the land including road right of the way for the construction of sewage and/or septage treatment facilities and raise funds for the operations and maintenance of said facilities. The Department of Health (DOH) will formulate guidelines and standards for the collection, treatment and disposal of sewage as well as the guidelines for the establishment and operation of centralized sewage treatment system. The MWSS and other agencies mandated to provide water supply and sewerage facilities are required to connect existing sewage lines, subject to the payment of sewerage service charges/fees within five years following effectivity of this Act. All sources of sewage and septage are required to comply with the law. How will the discharge of wastewater be discouraged? Anyone discharging wastewater into a water body will have to pay a wastewater charge. This economic instrument which will be developed in consultation with all concerned stakeholders is expected to encourage investments in cleaner production and pollution control technologies to reduce the amount of pollutants generated and discharged. Effluent trading per management area will also be allowed. Rewards will also be given to those whose wastewater discharge is better than the water quality criteria of the receiving body of water. Fiscal and non-fiscal incentives will also be given to

• Transport. Failure or refusal to clean up which results in serious injury or loss of life or lead to irreversible water contamination of surface.000 but not more than Php 3. The EGF will finance the conservation of watersheds and aquifers. ground. clean up or rehabilitation. or pollutants listed under R.000 per day of violation.1586 and its IRR. 6969) • Discharging regulated water pollutants without the valid required discharge permit pursuant to this Act • Noncompliance of the LGU with the Water Quality Framework and Management Area Action Plan • Refusal to allow entry.000/day for each day the contamination or omission continues. or operating wastewater treatment/sewerage facilities in violation of P.Act No. In cases of gross violation.A. water districts. What safeguards are provided for? All possible dischargers are required to put up an environmental guarantee fund (EGF) as part of their environmental management plan. anyone who commits prohibited acts such as discharging untreated wastewater into any water body will be fined for every day of violation. Failure to undertake clean-up operations willfully shall be punished by imprisonment of not less than two years and not more than four years.D. substances or pollutants listed under Toxic Chemicals.A. private entities and individuals who develop and undertake outstanding and innovative projects in water quality management. a fine of not less than Php 500.LGUs. prohibited chemicals. the Act prohibits the following: • Discharging or depositing any water pollutant to the water body. What are the fines and penalties imposed on polluters? The following are among the fines and penalties for violators of this Act and its IRR: Upon the recommendation of the Pollution Adjudication Board (PAB). 6969.000. anything that would pollute groundwater • Operating facilities that discharge regulated water pollutants without the valid required permits • Disposal of potentially infectious medical waste into sea by vessels • Unauthorized transport or dumping into waters of sewage sludge or solid waste. enterprise. No. What are the prohibited acts under R.000 and not more than Php 100. • Undertake activities or development and expansion of projects. the amount of not less than Php 10. injecting or allowing to enter into the soil. into water bodies. or such which will impede natural flow in the water body • Discharging. dumping or discharge of prohibited chemicals. inspection and monitoring as well as access to reports and records by the DENR in accordance with this Act • Refusal or failure to submit reports and/or designate pollution control officers whenever required by the DENR in accordance with this Act • Directly using booster pumps in the distribution system or tampering with the water supply in such a way to alter or impair the water quality • Operate facilities that discharge or allow to seep. Criminal charges may also be filed. willfully or through grave negligence. coastal and marine water shall be punished with imprisonment of not less than 6 years and 1 day and not more than 12 years and a fine of Php 500. and the needs of emergency response. substances. 9275? Among others.000 will be imposed for each day of violation. . Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act (Republic.000. This also includes a fine of not less than Php 50.000 but not more than Php 200.

4. classify or reclassify water bodies. 3. Department of Health (DOH) .together with the DENR and LGUs shall prepare a national program on sewerage and septage management. non -government organizations and the private sector. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) – act as overall of the lead agency. Department of Interior and Local Governments (DILG) and the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) – shall prepare and implement a comprehensive and continuing public education and information program 8. together with the DA shall enforce water quality standards in marine waters. with the support of other government organizations. septage and sanitation management. classify groundwater sources and prepare a national groundwater vulnerability map. prepare an integrated water quality management framework and subsequently prepare 10-year management plans for each water management area. establish internationally accepted procedures for sampling and analysis. Other implementing government agencies in support of the Act: 1. the DENR will review and set affluent standards. Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) – shall enforce standards and regulations in offshore areas including the discharge of wastewater by ships. Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) . 7. Department of Education (DepEd). 5. Department of Energy (DOE) – with the DENR shall formulate water quality criteria and standards specifically for geothermal exploration that encounters re-injection constraints. . local government units.shall provide specific health criteria and data related to the promulgation. Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and Local Water Utilities Authority (LWUA) –shall contribute inputs relative to the responsibilities of concessionaires and water districts in sewerage. together with the PCG shall enforce water quality standards in marine waters. prepare a National Water Quality Status Report. Towards this end. issue rules and regulations in the implementation of the Act. 6. revision and enforcement of drinking water quality standards. Department of Agriculture (DA) – shall develop guidelines for re-use of wastewater for irrigation purposes or as soil conditioner or fertilizer. review and enforce water quality guidelines. that provides adequate protection to other users of water bodies downstream of the geothermal project. Commission on Higher Education (CHED). 2.Who should implement the Clean Water Act? The DENR is the primary government agency responsible for the implementation and enforcement of this Act.

streams. Department of Science and Technology (DOST) – with the DENR shall prepare a program for the evaluation. substances or pollutants listed in the said RA. thus exposing the population to environmentally-related diseases. . water pollution and other problems that may result from it were/are avoided. development and public dissemination of pollution prevention and cleaner production technologies. and lakes contaminate ground and surface waters. 2. The relationship between polluted water and disease has now been firmly established and accepted.7 billion (US$134 million) per year (PEM 2006). The cost of treatment and lost income from illness and death due to water pollution is pegged at PHP6. Weaknesses Pollution of rivers. 3. With this regulation system. With this Act. Much of the surface water in urban areas is a public health risk while rural surface waters are also sources of disease. The World Bank estimates that exposure to water pollution and poor sanitation account for one-sixth of reported disease cases. Strengths 1. industries which release harmful and toxic wastewater to bodies of water can be penalized. The Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004 sets a regulation system to control who can discharge and the amount of wastewater that can be discharged in the bodies of water. verification.000 premature deaths per year. dumping or discharge of prohibited chemicals. The Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004 discouraged/discourages the discharge of wastewater to bodies of water. It reinforces/complements Republic Act No. 4. thus.10. access to clean water can be guaranteed and illnesses in the country which are attributed to polluted waters can be minimized. 6969 or Toxic Chemicals. Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act which prohibits the transport. and nearly 6.

Maramba’s report further mentions that groundwater near rice paddies may at times contain pesticide residues. a consequence of intensive use of fertilizer and chemicals (JCDB. exposure of households in farming communities may occur due to spray drift from nearby fields. which then flows into the Davao Gulf. They also use this water source for washing of hands and feet. The hazards accompanying this practice. seep into tributaries. and neurological problems found to be significantly associated with pesticide exposure. from Naboc to Kinking. hepatitis. dysentery. N. aplastic anemia. herbicides. fertilizers. Lead tailings poison the Hijo. According to a study by Dr. Intensive use of agrochemicals has been known to create and result to both environmental problems and diseases. Maramba (1996). which may then become part of agricultural runoff. Masara. resulting in possible health risks for the broader population. While levels detected were below the allowable limit. Several cases were cited in the study concerning organochlorine poisonings.e. Philippines. He mentioned that around 13. and to some extent. irrigation canals. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) (PEM 2003). diarrhea. from Compostela Valley. highlights the threats of aerial spraying of pesticides over Mindanao banana plantations. According to the World Bank. this may present longterm chronic exposure problems. soil analysts reported that intensive land cultivation and overuse of chemicals gravely damaged the land of banana growers in Davao. Mercury-stained stream sediments also threaten the Agusan River. renal. most farmers may be aware that pesticides are hazardous but there is a lack of awareness of exposure risks. or in. Batoto. monitored for a five-year period were caused by water-borne pathogens. especially those associated with persistent organic pollutants or POPs have been known for years and the knowledge of the extent of harm they cause has increased. application of agrochemicals (i. In another study conducted on banana production in Mindanao. Problems caused by exposure. are further aggravated by the fact that very few epidemiological studies on human populations have been designed to investigate pesticide exposure and pesticide-related illnesses among affected populations. recently.Pollution of our water resources such as untreated wastewater discharges affects human health through the spread of disease-causing bacteria and viruses. and Manat Rivers. Some known examples of diseases that may be spread through wastewater discharge are gastro-enteritis. just under a third. for taking a bath. the report stipulates. and. 1979 as cited in Calderon and . typhoid. In the agriculture sector. Matiao. Most banana companies are now said to be on the lookout for more land because the existing plantations have become less productive through the years. nail. pesticides) remains a common practice among farmers in rural areas. clothes. pulmonary. 2007. or 31 percent of illnesses in the country.5 metric tons of toxic mercury is being washed yearly into major rivers. This exposure is further enhanced by farmers’ practice of washing their sprayers near. Pesticide handlers are the ones most heavily exposed. In addition. as they drain into Butuan Bay. eye. skin. An article by Juan Mercado in the Philippine Daily Inquirer last February 22. Mercury-laced waters. cholera.

Tricholoroethylene (TCE). may actually contribute to the contamination of soil and groundwater with their residues.000 residents had to evacuate to escape toxic asphyxiation (PDI. Nearly half of the village’s 3. nausea. including BOD. however. the residents were suddenly awakened in the early dawn with the stench of chemicals dumped in the nearby irrigation canal by men said to be hired by the CFS Waste and Recycling Management Co. and suspended solids. Contamination from industrial sources is also a common source of diseases caused by toxic substances. D. One of these was an incident in December 2006 in Barangay Prenza. was found in 19 out of 102 wells tested in the vicinity of a Philips Corporation facility. male sterility. do not . 2006).TV. lead to dizziness and headaches as well as cancer (PEM 2006). that official Philippine data tend to emphasize BOD and other biological pollutants to the exclusion of other—more industrial and more toxic—pollutants. The community has initiated efforts to file their complaints and have a dialogue with concerned local government officials as well as the management of said corporation. concludes that longterm use of pesticides to control pests and diseases. and immune system impairment. Chemical wastes from a soap factory located at the outskirts of this city has spilled into the Alitao River. According to news reports. PDI. causing serious water pollution that is affecting the lives of thousands of people who depend on the river. 2006). A study conducted by Leonila Varca. Official documentation of water pollution shows that the major pollutants. December 6. and anemia. 2006). In March 2007. especially in rice production. in Marilao. the Sun Star Bacolod reported that residents of Barangay Mansilingan in Bacolod City were complaining of the foul odor allegedly being emitted by Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines Inc. hence. neurological disorders. DO. The water was rendered unfit for human consumption (GMANews. Agrochemicals not only pollute surface waters. It was observed. a carcinogen. in their area. in Valenzuela City (Reyes. blurring of vision. Another case of chemical waste spill was also reported in Lucena City in March 2006 (Mallari. 21 March 2007). C. the DENR warned of groundwater contamination in Pamplona. Las Piñas. The PEM 2004 report also warns that exposure to chemicals from industrial effluents may result in a range of health effects including headache. Bulacan. Water contamination from electronic manufacturing. 2003). PDI.Rola. This includes heavy metal contamination from mining activities. poisoning. including an indigenous Aeta community. coliform. “Impact of Agrochemicals on Soil and Water Quality”. In May 2006. have increased steadily in Philippine rivers. skin discoloration. nitrates. for example from chemicals such as trichloroethylene was recorded in an incident in Las Piñas City in 2007. Many residents vomited and fainted and were rushed to the hospital. which leads to elevated levels of mercury causing gingivitis. Amidst this warning are several cases that have been reported in the past few years. December 7.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nation’s Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in their publication “Promoting and Protecting Human Health”. 2007).ph/eeid/2010/factsheet/RA%209275. also within the province (Cutting Edge Contamination: A Study of Environmental Pollution during the manufacture of Electronic Products. The results showed varying degrees of contamination from different hazardous chemicals. in particular. were also found in groundwater samples in other sites. All sites notably contained chlorinated VOCs. is a health hazard. As yet. generally following purification treatments that include chlorination. including the Philippines.gov. particularly copper. the central nervous system and the liver. toxic solvents or degreasers used in “cleaning” semiconductors and other electrical equipment. Toxic incidences and impacts of polluted water bodies only come to public attention when a relatively huge number of the population is involved and if the effects on health are graphic and immediate. but the impacts on health (for example.gov. some of which are used untreated as drinking water. including volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and heavy metals. water samples taken from industrial estates in the Philippines were studied. mainly by industry and agricultural runoff. Treated waters are supplied either via piped distribution networks or as bottled water. a broad study was carried out by Greenpeace to investigate the quality of various surface and ground water systems in four countries. Elevated levels of metals. many of these river and canal systems also receive inputs of potentially contaminated wastewaters either from point sources and/or diffuse run-off from agricultural land.ph/eeid/cwa-english. and 70 times the US Environmental Protection Agency maximum contaminant level for drinking water. In another Greenpeace report released in February 2007.” References: http://emb. VOCs are known to affect the kidneys. Water samples taken from the Cavite Export Processing Zone (CEPZA) in Rosario. However.pdf http://emb.htm . no health cases have been directly linked to the contamination. malignant tumors) generally occur only after extended periods of exposure and are difficult to attribute accurately to specific environmental or lifestyle factors. Water from the systems investigated is known to be abstracted for distribution as drinking water. In 2007. states that “(…) Anthropogenic chemical pollution of surface waters. However.clearly identify concrete impacts of these more hazardous wastes on health and the environment. and are potentially carcinogenic. contained tetrachloroethene at nine times above the WHO guidance values for exposure limits. These and other sources may also be contributing to contamination of groundwater aquifers in their vicinity. Cavite. nickel and zinc.

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