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DENR to assess coastal areas for geohazards

Tuesday, April 12, 2011 THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources through its Mines and Geo-sciences Bureau (MGB) is now conducting geohazard mapping in the countrys coastal areas, including Negros Occidental and other provinces in Western Visayas. With the completion of our geohazard mapping project on landslide and flood-prone areas, the MGB is now set for coastal geohazard mapping with particular attention on the effects of the rising sea level due to climate change, said DENR Secretary Ramon Paje in a statement. This will give us solid information as to which coastal areas or shorelines are experiencing erosion or are prone to erosion to enable the government plan for a more responsive risk reduction program for these areas and other climate change mitigating and adaptation measures. Coastal erosion is a result of a number of geologic, oceanographic and atmospheric factors, including the relative sea level rise due to climate change, DENR explained. However, the rise of sea level can also result from man-made activities such as beach mining. Beach resorts and other infrastructure constructed along coastal areas are the ones that will be primarily affected by erosion due to rise of sea level. MGB acting director Leo Jasareno said among the environmental changes that will be looked into under the project includes the erosion and accretion or sedimentation of shorelines. He added for this year, MGBs Marine Geology Division, which is conducting the geohazard assessment, is targeting 97 coastal areas as priority areas in the provinces of Cagayan, La Union, Iloilo, Aklan, Antique, Negros Oriental and Cebu. Among the parameters set by MGB in determining priority areas to be covered by the project include the areas inherence to vulnerability, average rainfall, wind surges affecting the area, and the number of population in the coastal area, among others. Jasareno indicated that the initial activities under the project include shoreline mapping activities, gathering of erosion evidences such as exposed roots of vegetation in the area, eroded roads and infrastructure, and gathering of anecdotal and historical information from the coastal populace. The existence of these evidences in the area would somehow confirm that the area is prone to erosion, he said.

The MGB is expected to come up with a report on this project and a coastal geohazard map that would include details such as the number of hectares of eroded coastal areas, the rate of erosion and accretion in a certain area as well as identification of coastal areas vulnerable to erosion. (CGC) Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on April 12, 2011.