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Environmental engineering has a long history, although the phrase environmental

engineering is relatively new. The environment has different meanings in different
disciplines. In environmental engineering, the environment is where we live.
Environmental engineering is the application of science and engineering principles
to protect and utilize natural resources, control environmental pollution, improve
environmental quality to enable healthy ecosystems and comfortable habitation of
humans. It is based on multiple disciplines including geology, hydrology, biology,
chemistry, physics, medicine, engineering management, economics, laws, etc.
Environment engineering involves ecological framework of sustainable
management; government legislation, rules and regulation related to the
environment and waste management; and environmental management system.
The Origins of Environmental Engineering
The roots of environmental engineering reach back to the beginning of civilization.
Providing clean water and managing wastes became necessary whenever people
congregated in organized settlements. For ancient cities, the availability of a
dependable water source often meant the difference between survival and
destruction, and a water supply became a defensive necessity. The builders of wells
and aqueducts were the same people who were called on to build the city walls and
moats, as well as the catapults and other engines of war. These men became the
engineers of antiquity. It was not until the mid-1700s that engineers who built
facilities for the civilian population began to distinguish themselves from the
engineers primarily engaged in matters of warfare, and the term civil engineering
was born. In the formative years of the United States Military Academy, Civil
engineers the builders of roads, bridges, buildings, and railroads were called on
to design and construct water supplies for the cities, and to provide adequate
systems for the management of waterborne wastes and storm water.
The advent of industrialization brought with it unbelievably unsanitary conditions in
the cities because of the lack of water and waste management. There was no public
outcry, however, until it became evident that water could carry disease. From that
time on, civil engineers had to more than just provide an adequate supply of water;
they now had to make sure the water would not be a vector for disease
transmission. Public health became an integral concern of the civil engineers
entrusted with providing water supplies to the population centers, and the
elimination of waterborne disease became the major objective in the late 19 th
century. The civil engineers entrusted with the drainage of cities and the provision
of clean water supplies became public health engineers (in Britain) and sanitary
engineers (in the United States).
Philippine Environmental Laws
Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 (RA 9003). This law aims for the
reduction of solid waste through source reduction and waste minimization
measures, treatment and disposal of solid waste in accordance with ecologically

sustainable development principles. It also aims to ensure the proper segregation,

collection, transport, storage, treatment and disposal of solid waste through the
formulation and adoption of the best environmental practice in ecological waste
management excluding incineration. RA 9003 considers waste as a source that can
be recovered, emphasizing on recycling, reuse and composting as methods to
minimize waste problems. Three Rs of RA 9003 are reduce, recover and recycle.
The said act gives string emphasis on the role of municipal and local government
units (LGUs) providing for the crating of Solid Waste Management Communities up
to the barangay level. This requires the participation of nongovernment offices,
peoples organizations, church leaders, schools, businesses and community
Types of Wastes According to Classification
Residual waste with no commercial value meant for disposal
Recycle waste that can be reused.
Biodegradable waste that can be decomposed by organisms
Hazardous waste that may cause or contribute to mortality or illness
Toxic waste that may cause immediate death or body damage
Commonwealth Act No. 383 Anti-Dumping Law. An Act to punish the dumping into
any river of reuse, waste matter or substances of any kind whatsoever that may
bring about the rise or filling in of river beds or cause artificial alluvial formations.
Any person who shall be found transgressing the provision hereof shall be punished
by imprisonment of not more than six months, or by a fine not to exceed two
hundred pesos, or by both such fine and imprisonment, at the discretion of the
Presidential Decree 825. Providing penalty for improper disposal of garbage and
other forms of uncleanliness and for other purposes.
Any person, who shall litter or throw garbage, filth, or other waste matters in public
places, such as roads, canals esteros or parks, shall suffer an imprisonment of not
less than 5 days nor more than one year or a fine of not less than Php 100 nor more
than Php 2, 000 or both such fine and imprisonment at the discretion of the Court or
tribunal, without prejudice to the imposition of a higher penalty under any other law
or decree.
Republic Act 6969 (Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Waste Control Act).
This Act shall cover the importation, manufacture, processing, handling, storage,
transportation, sale, distribution, use and disposal of all unregulated chemical
substances and mixtures in the Philippines, including the entry, even in transit, as
well as the keeping or storage and disposal of hazardous and nuclear wastes into
the country for whatever purpose.
Republic Act 7160 (Local Government Code). Mandates local government units to
exercise powers, functions and responsibilities in providing basic services and

facilities related to general hygiene, sanitation, beautification and solid waste

collection, transport and disposal.
Presidential Decree 894 (Pollution Control Law). It is hereby declared a national
policy to prevent, abate and control pollution of water, air and land for the more
effective utilization of the resources of this country.
Pollution means any alteration of the physical, chemical and biological properties
of any water, air and/or land resources of the Philippines, or any discharge thereto
of any liquid, gaseous or solid wastes as will or is likely to create or to render such
water, air and land resources harmful, detrimental or injurious to public health,
safety or welfare or which will adversely affect their utilization for domestic,
commercial, industrial, agricultural, recreational or other legitimate purposes.
Sewage means the water-carried human or animal wastes from residences,
buildings, industrial establishments, or other places, together with such water
infiltration and surface water as may be present. The admixture or sewage and
industrial wastes or other wastes as hereafter defined shall also be considered
Industrial waste means any liquid, gaseous or solid matter, or other waste
substance or a combination thereof resulting from any process of industry,
manufacturing trade or business or from the development, processing or any
natural resources which may cause or tend to cause pollution of the water, air and
land resources of the Philippines.
Other Waste means garbage, refuse, wood residues, sand, lime cinders, ashes,
offal, night-oil, tar, dye stuffs, acids, chemicals, and other substances not sewage or
industrial waste which may cause or tend to cause pollution, or contribute to the
pollution of the water, air and land resources of the Philippines.
Sewage System or Sewerage System means pipe lines of conduits, pumping
stations, force mains, constructed drainage ditches, and all other constructions,
devices and appurtenances used for collecting or conducting sewage, and industrial
wastes or other wastes to a point of treatment, discharge or ultimate disposal.
Republic Act (RA) 8749: Clean Air Act (CAA) of 1999. These rules shall lay down the
powers and functions of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the
Department of Transportation and Communication, the Department of Trade and
Industry, the Department of Energy and all other concerned agencies, the rights and
obligations of stakeholders and the rights and duties of the people with respect to
the Air Quality Management Control Program.
Air pollution means any alteration of the physical, chemical and biological
properties of the atmosphere, or any discharge thereto of any liquid, gaseous or
solid substances that will or is likely to create or to render the air resources of the
country harmful, detrimental, or injurious to public health, safety or welfare or which
adversely affect their utilization for domestic, commercial, industrial, agricultural,
recreational or other legitimate purposes

Airshed refers to areas with common weather or meteorological conditions and

sources of air pollution which affect the interchange and diffusion of pollution in the
surrounding atmosphere.
Ambient air quality refers to the atmospheres average purity in a broad area as
distinguished from discharge measurements taken at the source of pollution or the
present characteristic or nature of the surrounding atmosphere.
Republic Act 9275 (The Clean Water Act of 2002). This shall institute a policy of
sustainable development and a holistic national water quality management program
of fresh, brackish and marine resources. Penalty is not less than 10, 000 200, 000/
everyday violation with 10% increase per year.
RA 9512: Environmental Awareness and Education Act of 2008. Consistent with the
policy of the State to protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and
healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature, and in
recognition of the vital role of the youth in nation building and the role of education
to foster patriotism and nationalism, accelerate social progress, and promote total
human liberation and development, the state shall promote national awareness on
the role of natural resources in economic growth and the importance of
environmental conservation and ecological balance towards sustained national
The Department of Education (DepEd) , the Commission on Higher Education
(CHED), the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), the
Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), in coordination with the
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Department of
Science and Technology 9DOST) and other relevant agencies, shall integrate
environmental education in ties school curricula at all levels, whether public or
private, indigenous learning and out-of-school youth courses or programs.
Environmental education shall encompass environmental concepts and principles,
environmental laws, the state of the international and local environment, local
environmental best practices, the threats of environmental degradation and its
impact on human well-being, the responsibility of the citizenry to the environment
and the value of conservation, protection and rehabilitation of natural resources and
the environment in the context of sustainable development. It shall cover both
theoretical and practicum modules comprising activities, projects, programs
including, but not limited to, tree planting; waste minimization, segregation,
recycling and composting; freshwater and marine conservation; forest management
and conservation; relevant livelihood opportunities and economic benefits and other
such programs and undertakings to aid the implementation of the different
environmental protection law.