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Climate change places Mactan airport, others at risk — Tan

By Candeze R. Mongaya, Inquirer.net

1248 days ago   Article ID# 1096208
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World Wildlife Fund

DALY CITY, CALIFORNIA (Inquirer.net) - It may not happen soon, but climate change can cause floods in coastal areas in Cebu, including the airport, an international conservation, an official said yesterday.

Jose Ma. Lorenzo Tan, president of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), said Cebu’s international airport is one of six airports in Central Visayas that are vulnerable to being submerged by rising water levels in a scenario of climate change.

Only two other airports in Negros Oriental and Panay, which are not located along the coast, don’t face that risk, he said.

Tan showed Power Point slides of images of coastal sites in the region that risk being flooded by as much as four to six meters. He gave no timeframe, however, as to when this would happen.

He spoke in an environmental congress organized by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 7, where he encouraged the private sector to implement adaptive measures against climate change.

“If we don’t embrace new technologies and Cebuanos are not ready to show vitality, the economy will collapse,” Tan said during his speech “Reality Check: Assessing the Economic/ Business Risks Facing Cebu City from Climate Change”.

Tan cited results of a WWF Triangle Study in 2009 which showed that within 2020 to 2050, the acidification or decrease of the pH level of the ocean would continue to affect marine biodiversity.

This would be seen in the phenomenon of coral bleaching and stunted development of bones and shells of marine species.

He said the sea level is also forecast to rise four to six meters, adding that river overflows and flooding would be more frequent.

Tan also cited a Manila Observatory Study that predicts that Luzon will experience more rain while Visayas and Mindanao would experience more drought.

The WWF and the Bank of the Philippine Island (BPI) have an ongoing study which began late 2010 to asses the readiness of the country for climate change.

He said variables of the study include the likelihood of flooding, land area use, population growth and infrastructure adaptive capacity.

The study results are set to be completed and released by October this year.

For Cebu to be prepared, Tan suggested that residential and business establishments focus on on upland areas which are safe from landslides and less vulnerable to floods and higher sea levels.

“Why should we wait for nature to affect our life. Let’s move ahead,” Tan said.

He said that if Cebu’s airport is affected by a sudden rise in sea levels, the economy, especially the export industry, would be crippled.

“Cebu is transport-dependent but we have no alternative airport,” he said.

“I’m surprised that even until now, we don’t have an alternative solution, a plan B on how to solve this problem,” he added.

He said that local governments and the DENR should educate the public and encourage adaptive measures to cope with climate change.

Cebu’s use of limited ground water sources should be regulated by establishing water tariffs, he said.

He said reforestation efforts are not enough and that people should be encouraged to consume less water and environment-friendly technologies.

Copyright 2014 Inquirer.net   (Copyright Terms)
Updated 1248 days ago   Article ID# 1096208

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