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close this bookIdeas for Action : Save, Recycle and Do Not Pollute (IIRR, 1992, 146 p.)
close this folderConserving resources
View the documentEnvironment-friendly and energy-saving tips in the office
View the documentEnergy-saving actions for the home
View the documentCar care for the environment
View the documentAlternative transportation
View the documentWater power
View the documentCoastal resources conservation
View the documentEnvironment-friendly aquaculture
View the documentSoil and water conservation in upland farms
View the documentWater conservation in lowland farms
View the documentWater conservation in farm households
View the documentWater conservation at home and in the workplace
View the documentSave trees for our survival
View the documentEnvironment-friendly use of firewood
View the documentMaking a haybasket cooker

Environment-friendly and energy-saving tips in the office

Recycling, waste reduction and energy conservation require a strength-in-numbers strategy in order to bring about effective change at your office or school. If more people are involved, positive changes in daily habits can be quickly seen. Organized, as well as individual, efforts can channel an enormous amount of garbage toward the recyclables market, can reduce the amount of wastes produced and can translate energy conservation efforts into savings.

· Recycle aluminum, glass, newspapers and valuable office paper. Also, some printer and copier ink cartridges can be reused.

· Use your own mug and eating utensils to minimize the use of plastics or disposable materials. Encourage your canteen to provide washable materials or eating utensils instead of disposables.

· Place a special box for recycled paper next to each printer and copy machine. Do not put non-paper items into the box.

· Reduce paper use. Photocopy documents on both sides of the paper. Circulate end rouse memos rather than produce copies for everybody. Post memos on common bulletin boards. Reuse used envelopes (especially for use within the office).

· Talk to the person who buys paper for your office or school. Urge him to purchase recycled paper for business cards, letterheads and for the use in the photocopier.

· Encourage the purchasing department to buy durable office equipment. If equipment breaks, repair it rather than replace it. Take advantage of service contracts.

· If an office equipment or furniture is to be disposed of, donate it to charity which will do the repair, reconditioning or recycling.

Recycling paper

Office products

· As a substitute for toxic glues, use paper clips, staples or string.

· Use traditional carbon paper actually made from paper rather than glossy paper made from film.

· Avoid glues and cements that contain solvents (for example, hobby glue, rubber cement). Use instead a stick-type glue or basic white glue.

· Use china markers (wax pencils), colored pencils or crayons, instead of solvent-based markers.

· Use correction tape that covers errors or lifts them off the paper without the use of solvents. If you use correction fluid, use the water-based type made for photocopies.

Energy conservation

Generating electricity usually involves burning fossil fuels which pollute the environment. Therefore, lowering electrical consumption through conservation measures minimizes pollution as well as saving money.

· Maintain a well-ventilated office or work space. Open windows and use electric fans where possible. However, during the hottest time of the day, keep windows and outer doors closed or shaded to prevent heat from entering.

· If an air-conditioner is used, start it at the lowest setting, then raise it after a few minutes. Immediately setting an air conditioner to the highest setting will not cool a room any faster.

· If you leave an air-conditioned room for a few hours, turn the air conditioner off.

· Keep the air-conditioner filter clean and replace it when it becomes too ragged. Maintain the machine so it will perform at peak efficiency, thus consuming less electricity.

· Keep indoor plants to cool the room.

· Switch off unnecessary lights. Ask yourself and others which lights are really necessary. Use sunlight for illumination as much as possible.

· Use flourescent (daylight) lamps, instead of incandescent bulbs. They last longer, produce more light and do not strain the eves.

· Keep bulbs and electrical fixtures clean so they can produce the maximum amount of light.

· Replace two low-wattage fixtures with one high-wattage-fixture. For example: A single 100-watt bulb gives off 20 percent more light than two 60-watt bulbs. Replace high-wattage bulbs with low wattage bulbs in places where bright light is not needed.

· Turn off all appliances or equipment before leaving the office. Close all windows and doors.

· Use the elevator only when climbing more than three floors; other wise use the stairs to improve your health.




Ruth Caplan. Our Earth, Ourselves. Bantam Books, 1990.

Mynardo Macaraig. How.Green is Your Home? A Filipino Primer on Home Ecology. Earth Station, 1991.

The Recycler's Handbook. Earth Works Press, 1990.

Ideas for Action:

A Technology Information Kit November 23 - 28, 1992

Energy-saving actions for the home

Energy-saving actions for the home

Electricity is the primary source of power in most homes, especially those in cities. Minimizing electrical consumption should be a regular practice in our lives and not an emergency measure to be adopted during power shortages. Here is a list of energy-saving actions for a household with electrical power:


· Place lights close to the area where light is needed the most.

· Use light reflectors which make the most of available light.

· Turn off unnecessary lights. Ask yourself which lights are really necessary.

· As much as possible, use sunlight for illumination.

· Before going to sleep, check the house to ensure that all lights are turned off.

· Keep bulbs and electrical fixtures clean so they can produce the maximum amount of light.

· For bright lights, especially spot lights or outside lights usually left on for long periods, use higher wattage bulbs.

· Use flourescent lighting, instead of incandescent bulbs. They last longer and produce more light at a lower cost. These energy-saving lights are now available in the Philippines, but they are still costly to purchase.

· Replace two low-wattage fixtures with one high-wattage fixture. A single 100-watt bulb gives off 20 percent more light than two 60-watt bulbs.

· Replace high-wattage bulbs with low-wattage bulbs in places where bright light is not needed.

· Avoid use of light diffusers which tend to disperse and reduce available light.


Air conditioners

· Reduce the use of the air conditioner to lower electrical consumption and to save energy.

· Ventilate your house properly to minimize heat that enters the house and reduces the efficiency of the air conditioner.

· When using the air conditioner, start it at the lowest setting, then raise it after a few minutes. Immediately setting the air conditioner to its highest setting will not cool a room any faster.

· When leaving the room for a few hours, turn off the air conditioner.

· Place fans at least one to two feet above the floor to circulate cool air sitting on the floor.

· Use proper home insulation to keep the house cool and minimize air conditioner use.

· Check filters at least once a month. Keep them clean and replace them when they become too ragged so they will perform at peak efficiency.

· Plant trees and other plants around the house to keep it cool.

· Install air conditioner in a shaded area by a tree or an awning. Locate the unit in the coolest side of the room. The best is usually at the northern side, away from the morning and afternoon sun. This consumes less electricity. Also, install it at least one meter above the ground to ensure proper ventilation and operation of the machine.

· Open windows and use electric fans, where possible. However, during the hottest time of the day, keep windows and outer doors closed or shaded to prevent too much heat from entering.

· Install ceiling fans which help to circulate air in a room.

· Place lamps or TV set away from your air-conditioning thermostat. Heat from these appliances is sensed by the thermostat and can cause the unit to run longer than necessary to maintain coolness.

Air conditioners

Electrical or gas stoves and ranges

· When cooking, match the size of the pot to the size of the burner. Consider which cooking ware to use when cooking a certain type of dish.

· Thaw frozen food at room temperature before cooking.

· Use the proper amount of water to cover the food being cooked.

· Use a tight-fitting lid to conserve moisture.

· Do not open the oven when something is cooking. Heat escapes every time an oven door is opened, extending the cooking time and wasting energy.

· Turn off the oven a few minutes before cooking is done; the remaining heat will finish the cooking.

· Use microwave ovens, oven toasters and pressure cookers when cooking small or medium-sized portions. They cook faster than conventional ovens so they consume less electricity.

· Cook and iron clothes early in the morning and late in the evening as much as possible. This helps to keep the house cool during the hot time.

· When using charcoal or fuelwood for cooking, cook the first dish on the first stove. A few minutes before cooking is done, transfer it to a stove with lesser heat. Then, cook the second dish on the stove with high heat. Always plan what dish to cook, so charcoal and fuelwood use can be regulated.

Electrical or gas stoves and range

Refrigerators and freezers

· Avoid repeated opening and closing of the refrigerator door. Close the door quickly to keep heat from entering.

· Defrost regularly. Thick frost on the walls of the freezer acts as an insulating blanket which causes the motor to work overtime, resulting in increased power consumption.

· Keep refrigerator and freezer settings at appropriate temperatures. Set refrigerators at 4°C and freezers at about minus 15°C.

· Remove dust from the compressor units and condenser coils at the back of the refrigerator every three to four months. Clean condenser coils allow for proper cooling.

· Cool foods to room temperature before storing in the refrigerator. Placing warm food in the refrigerator increases the temperature inside, thereby increasing power consumption.

· Place the refrigerator far enough from the stove or range so that it will not be affected by the heat generated. Install it where air can circulate freely around it.

· If you are buying a new refrigerator or freezer, choose energy-efficient models. Manual-defrost freezers consume less energy than automatic-defrost models. Chest freezers save more energy than upright freezers. They are better insulated and the cold air does not escape when the doors are opened.

Refrigeration and freezers

Other electrical appliances or gadgets

· Turn off electric fans when not in use. Never leave an electric fan on when there is nobody around.

· Maximize the use of a fan timer. This helps regulate the time a fan is needed to cool the area/room.

· Clean fan blades and motor regularly to make it more efficient.

· Unplug electrical appliances when not in use.

· Use the electric iron efficiently. A hand iron consumes more power than a colored TV set.

Other electrical appliances or gadgets


Ruth Caplan. Our Earth, Ourselves. Bantam Books, 1990.

Mynard Macaraig. How Green is Your Home? A Filipino Primer on Home Ecology. Earth Station, 1991.

Home Greenhouse Saver. Greenhouse Unit, Office of the Environment, Victoria, Australia.
Surviving the Coming Summer' Metrognome.

Ideas for Action:

A Technology Information Kit, November 23 - 28, 1992

Car care for the environment


Using cars, instead of walking, obviously consumes gasoline, aside from the fact that motor vehicles spew pollution on the air. It also takes up more space in an already congested city and distracts government attention from mass transit systems. Minimizing the use of private cars will shore up the economy, conserve fuel, lessen pollution and traffic and encourage the government to develop public transportation.

But, for those who own cars, here are the important things to do:

· Keep the car in good running condition. Have regular tune-ups and check-ups, such as changing oil, wheel-balancing and spark plug checks.

· Check with the local car dealer for any energy-efficiency and environment-friendly car gadgets to be availed of.

· Lessen the burden that the car has to carry. Take all unnecessary junks out of the trunk.

· Instead of warming up the car in the morning by letting the engine idle, warm it up by driving slowly and gently (as though bottles are balanced on the hood) for the first 15 minutes of the trip. This way, every bit of gasoline consumption will be used in actual travel.

· Use car air conditioner only when needed. Air conditioners increase fuel consumption and make the engine work harder, causing it to produce more pollution.

· Keep the car cooler by parking it in shaded areas or even painting it a lighter color so it won't absorb too much heat.

· Drive at a steady pace. Minimize braking by anticipating changes in speed and taking your foot off the gas as soon as you see a red light or slowed traffic. This lessens gasoline consumption and saves wear-and tear on the engine, brakes and tires.

· If you are going to stop the car for more than a minute, turn the engine off. The gas consumed by one minute of idling is more than that consumed by restarting a car.

· Don't fill the tank to the brim. Even with a gasoline cap on, some fuel can spill out. Leave some space for heat expansion.

· Join or form a car pool with well-planned schedules and practical routes to follow. This is a better way to eliminate unnecessary trips, to save fuel consumption and prolong life service of your car.


How Green is Your Home? A Filipino Primer on Home Ecology. 1991.

Ideas for Action:

A Technology Information Kit, November 23 - 28, 1992

Alternative transportation

Perhaps, it would be best for the environment and for the country if private cars were not used at all. This helps in a way to conserve fuel, lessen pollution and traffic. Minimizing the use of private cars will encourage the government to develop and improve the public transportation system.

Take public transportation for commuting; this keeps at least one car off the road.

Public transportation

If possible, organize and join a car pool in your neighborhood, school or workplace.

Car pool

Choose vehicles that produce the least pollution, such as better-maintained buses, light rail (LRTs) and railroad transits (Metro Train).

LRTS and metro train

If advisable, ride a scooter or a bike. Scooters consume less fuel than a motorcycle and bicycles consume none at all.

Scooters and bicycles

Short trips to the nearby grocery can easily be done on a bicycle. Mount a basket on the bicycle to make things easier.

Basket on the bicycle

For longer trips across the city, try to plot a safe and proper route through less busy side streets and minimize passing through congested intersections

Safe route


How Green is your Home? A Filipino Primer on Home Ecology. 1991.

Ideas for Action:

A Technology Information Kit, November 23 - 28, 1992

Water power

What is water power?

Waterpower or hydropower is the energy contained in moving water as it falls downhill towards the sea. This energy can be traced to the water cycle lowered by the sun, which causes water to evaporate from lakes and oceans, carries it as clouds over land masses and deposits it as rains.

The pulling force of gravity gives water above sea level stored or potential energy. As the water rushes downhill towards the sea, this potential energy is converted into moving or kinetic energy. The tremendous power of moving water pushes against anything in its path, displacing huge boulders and tree trunks and, over the course of centuries, carving valleys between mountains. This power can be harnessed to do useful work.

Moving water can be used to spin a wheel or turbine by falling from an intake or head pond to a lower reservoir or tail water. The resulting movement can either provide direct mechanical energy or drive an electrical generator. The vertical height between the upper reservoir and the tailwater is known as the head and can be used with water flow rate to calculate the expected power output.

Water in the nature

Parts of a Hydropower Installation

Parts of a Hydropower Installation

There are three elements in a hydroelectric scheme:

· the dam;
· the penstock or channel down which the water flows to the hydropower machine; and,
· the hydropower machine.


In any hydropower scheme, water must be diverted from a river or stream to the hydropower device. One way to do this is to completely dam the stream and feed the water to the hydropower device via a penstock. This is called a regulated system. Building a dam across a large river is a major construction job. Another way, called a run-of-the-river method, is to divert only part of the stream with a small dam or weir, conveying the water to the hydropower machine by flumes, canals and/or penstocks. This method is often the best choice for small-scale hydro installations.

Dams fulfill several functions:

1. By storing power behind them, they ensure the regular flow of water to the turbine or waterwheel even during times when the flow of water is low. Stored water in a dam is stored (potential) energy. Stored water in a dam can also be used for fish farming, irrigation and recreational purposes.

2. Dams raise the head of a stream, thereby increasing the easily obtained power. In a small stream, the head can be raised several meters by choosing an appropriate site for building a dam.

3. Dams enable easy diversion of water to the turbine or waterwheel. In a run- of-the-river system, a partial dam simply diverts some of the flow into a canal (called a headrace) or flume which carries it to the hydropower device. In a regulated installation, the water flow is completely blocked and fed directly into the hydropower machine located below the dam.

Depending upon the size of the hydropower installation, dams are built of concrete, stone, wood or even earth. Partial dams are usually easier to build than full dams. Because a dam burst will cause considerable damage downstream, structures called spillways are always part of the scheme, allowing excess water to escape from the dam. The smaller the dam, the safer it is and the easier and cheaper it is to build.

Flumes, headrace canals and penstocks

Every hydropower installation requires some means of conveying water from the dammed stream to the hydropower device. The water should be conveyed with as little head loss and expense as possible.

Headrace canals and flumes are open channels built with very slight gradient so that little energy is lost from the water as it travels through them. Penstocks are pipes used to carry water from the dam or forebay to turbines.

Long penstocks are quite expensive. Often, the penstock is anchored into the ground to prevent it from shifting position. Water rubbing against the inside of the pipe and against bends in the penstock cause head loss which reduces available power.

Control and screening of water flow

Water flowing into a hydropower installation should be controlled to prevent damage to the hydropower device during floods and to allow for occasional maintenance. Penstocks have control valves and/or gates in the forebay which can limit flow. Waterwheel installations have sluice gates (wood or metal panels which can be closed or opened) for controlling water flow.

Water entering hydropower installations must be free from foreign matters, such as leaves and sand.

Trashracks (grates or screens which prevent the passage of solids) are used in turbine and waterwheel installations. Trashracks must be cleaned on a regular basis to prevent materials from clogging the screen or grates.

Types of hydropower devices

1. Waterwheels are large, slow-spinning wheels with attached paddles or buckets which are turned by the force of moying water. They are mainly used for mechanical work such as grinding.

2. Turbines have fast-spinning blades (called runners) that are turned by the pressure or impact forces of moving water. The most common application of turbines is electrical generation, though they can be used for mechanical work.

3. Hydraulic rams use the momentum of water moving through an inclined drive pipe to push part of that water uphill through a delivery pipe to a place where it is required.

Large and small hydropower schemes

Developments in hydropower are taking place at the two extremes of project size.

Dam costs

Huge dams can make a substantial contribution to economic development. On the face of it, hydroelectricity is cheap, renewable and nonpolluting and, thus, is seen es a major source of energy. (In 1987, almost 20 percept of the world's electricity was supplied by hydropower.) Dams are also seen es haying an important pert to play in the battle against world hunger, by providing water for irrigation projects. Large dams also provide water storage and flood control. But they are not unreservedly good:

· Reservoirs inundate forests, farmland and wildlife habitats and uproot entire communities of indigenous peoples. If China proceeds with its Three Gorges project -- the world's largest at 13,000 megawatts -several million people will be displaced.

· Impounding a river severely disrupts the surrounding ecosystems. Dams permanently change the flow of rivers and streams. They cause the water table to be raised upstream and lowered downstream, the altered flow and lowered downstream and the altered flow of water affect the downstream inhabitants and ecosystems. A dam traps silt and, thus, valuable nutrients are neither deposited on floodplain farmland nor provide food for downstream fish. Before the Aswan Dam was built, sardine catches in the eastern Mediterranean totalled 18,000 tonnes a year: by 1969, the catch was down to 500 tonnes a year. The 100 million tonnes of sediments deposited on farmland fell to just a few tonnes and to compensate for the loss, Egypt must apply artificial fertilizer at a cost of about $100 million a year.

· Reservoirs in tropical environments expand the breeding grounds for the carriers of malaria, bilharzia (schistosomiasis) and river blindness. In Ghana, before the Volta Dam was built, the rate of infection for bilharzia was 2 percent; now, it is 80 percent.

· The reservoirs behind many large dams, especially those downstream from deforested watersheds, have silted up much faster than anticipated. This shortens the working life of the projects, sometimes by decades.

Micro-hydroelectric power: its strengths and weaknesses


· Micro-hydro power provides a renewable, non-polluting energy source.

· Micro-hydro power can meet the needs of many small industrial processes, such as the milling of flour. rice hulling, coffee processing, sugar cane crushing, sawmills, bakeries and other small workshops.

· Micro-hydro power creates employment through encouraging the creation of small-scale industries.

· A low-cost alternative to diesel, micro-hydro power can serve areas where national electric supplies cannot reach.

· Most of the needed equipment, such as turbines, can be manufactured locally.

· Micro-hydro power provides power for domestic use, such as lighting and cooking, thereby reducing the burden on dwindling forest cover.


· The initial cost for installing a micro-hydro plant may be too expensive for a community.

· A wide range of technical skills is required to survey, design, manufacture and install micro-hydro systems and also, where applicable, to identity and adapt equipment for industrial activities that can be powered by the plant. In many developing countries, the skills required for such a project are not generally available at a local level.

· Micro-hydro power requires land areas of adequate annual rainfall and hilly terrain to work efficiently.


The Earth Report: The Essential Guide to Global Ecological Issues ed. Edward Goldsmith and Nicholas Hildyard, Mitchell Beazley Publishers, London, 1988.

Ideas for Action:

A Technology Information Kit, November 23 - 28, 1992

Coastal resources conservation

Coastal resources conservation

The Philippines faces immense challenges. The urgent need for economic progress comes under conditions of a booming population, insufficient development resources and overexploited natural resources. Being an archipelago with an extensive coast line (17,000 km²) and territorial waters more then seven times its total land area, the country's coasts are characterized by mangrove forests, seagrass meadows, seaweed beds, beaches and coral reefs. However, due to pressures from an increasing population and the drive towards industrial development, these coastal resources have been exploited such that conservation and protection have been overlooked.

From an original mangrove vegetation of approximately 500,000 ha in the 1920s, about 130,000 ha are left today, with only about a third representing old growths or mature trees. Most of these forests have already been converted to aquaculture ponds. Potential yields from coral reefs have been found at a range of 0.8 to 5 t/km²/year, yet it has been observed that intensively exploited reefs in the Philippines yield as much as 14-20 t/km²/year. Regretably, this cannot be sustained. Fish yields are not only a function of how much fishing but also of the kind of fishing. Fish production can be reduced immensely by habitat destruction. This includes destructive fishing practices such as the use of dynamite, poisons and gears like seines and trawls which scrape across the bottom and disrupt the production of fish food or spawning of fish. Also, coastal areas functionally serve as the receptacle of most, if not all, waste materials that are generated by land-based activities such as agriculture, aquaculture and mining. Indiscriminate logging, on the other hand, promotes erosion that leads to sedimentation of rivers and eventually the coastal waters. This effectively suffocates marine organisms. At present, live coral cover stands at 33,036 km² with only an estimated five percent classified to be in excellent condition. This lamentable situation must be changed.

Below are various ways by which sustainable use can be effected.

Conservation measures

1. Individual Level

· Conservation is not the sole responsibility of the authorities. Each person should do his or her share in ensuring that the environment is adequately protected.

· Be aware of pertinent laws and follow them (e.g., use non-destructive fishing methods).

· Reuse materials (e.g., paper, plastic) to lessen the garbage produced.

· Use recycled paper. This means that less trees will be cut in the process.

· Throw rubbish in trash cans and avoid littering the beaches. Not only is this aesthetically pleasing and sanitary but this would also prevent polluting the water. Likewise, plastics which find their way into the sea could suffocate fishes. These plastics could also be accidentally swallowed by other organisms which could then prove fatal for them.

· Avoid stepping on corals. An inch of its branch, for example, actually took one year to grow.

· Do not catch endangered species (e.g., green turtles, dugongs).

· Do not patronize/buy products derived from endangered species (e.g., turtle shell).

· Avoid gathering live corals and shells for purposes of displaying them later.

· Report observed anomalies or violations of environmental and fisheries laws.

· Participate actively in productive community endeavours (e.g., being deputized to help law enforcers).


2. Community Level

· Indeed, there is strength in numbers. An organized and environmentally aware community (especially one with a strong fishermen's organization/cooperative) has the power to achieve more, in terms of number and scale. conservation and other related efforts.

· Seek advise from appropriate government agencies and/or tap nongovernment organizations for desired community organizing, financial and technical information and technologies.

· Establish marine protected areas, mangrove revegetation/seagrass transplantation sites and artificial reefs to rehabilitate degraded areas.

· Establish set-back lines (area from the waterline up to a designated distance) to ensure public access and to serve as protection against erosion.

· Designate areas for anchoring boats to minimize damage to seagrasses and corals.

· Advocate non-destructive fishing methods (e.g., use of net in aquarium fishing).

· Assist law enforcers in patrolling fishing areas.

· Engage in ecologically sound tourism activities and appropriate livelihood projects to augment income or a different source of living from capture fisheries while implementing long-term projects such as mangrove reforestation.

· Establish support facilities (e.g., cooperatives) to ensure greater returns. This should further motivate fisherfolks to continue with their conservation efforts.

· Support health programs with special emphasis on discouraging undue population growth and promotion of proper industrial and domestic waste disposal.

· Share experiences through fisherfolk-to-fisherfolk technology development dissemination and promotion activities. In the process, stronger links can be established among fishermen's organizations.

Protected area

3. National Level

The adoption of policies supportive of conservation would ensure complementary national activities.

Policies on environmental education, the implementation of zoning in appropriate areas, strengthening institutional capabilities and consultation with the people should be given serious consideration. It is also important to note that pollution problems may very well increase as industrialization increases in the tropics, particularly under impetus from some of the more developed countries to transfer the most polluting industries to developing countries.

If necessary, legislation should be given more teeth or incentives be provided in order to improve law enforcement practices. This includes effective control of the availability of blasting caps that are sometimes used in blast fishing.

In summary, the rate of exploitation can be checked through the concerted efforts of all sectors.

Ideas for Action:

A Technology Information Kit November 23 - 28, 1992

Environment-friendly aquaculture

Aquaculture is the farming of aquatic animals (fishes, shrimps, crabs, shells) and plants. It may involve seed production (hatchery-nursery) and grow-out production phases. It may be undertaken in land-based or water-based enclosures, either in fresh, brackish and marine waters.

In the Philippines, aquaculture has steadily increased its contribution to total fisheries production from only 13.7 percent in 1978 to 25.3 percent in 1987. Milkfish and tilapia farming has contributed significantly to the domestic fish supply and shrimp farming to export earnings.

While aquaculture can have considerable economic benefits, it can also have adverse environmental (socioeconomic and ecological) effects:

· Poor farming communities become poorer, with more of the benefits accruing to those already with money.

· Former natural habitats become fragmented.

· Soil, water and landscape qualities deteriorate.

· Animal and plant diversities decline.

· Harmful chemicals and microbes get into common waters.

However, this needs not be the case if aquaculture facilities are properly planned, operated, managed and monitored. Some actions aquaculture practitioners and the general public (through advocacy) can take for environment-friendly aquaculture are as follows:

· Go for sustainable, low-input, high-yield aquaculture systems.

Integrated agriculture-aquaculture systems (fish-rice, fish-livestock, etc.).

Semi-intensive farming (with less feed, fertilizer and pesticides inputs) rather than intensive farming.

Seafarming (seaweed farms, oyster/mussel culture, fish cages in open marine waters) rather than in inland waters and mangrove swamps.

Polyculture (milk-fish with shrimp, crab with seabass), rather than single-species culture.

· Select native species that feed low on the food chain (plant feeders), grow fast, breed naturally, are disease-resistant and hardy. This obviates the need for feeds and chemicals, such as fertilizers, pesticides, antibiotics and hormones. Exotic species (which may carry diseases and pests or displace local populations) must not be farmed unless they have gone through a very stringent quarantine.

· Select proper sites for aquaculture facilities to minimize the environmental impact. Consider other uses and users of the sites. Go for sustainable and equitable development.

· Conduct a thorough, honest socioeconomic and ecological impact assessment before proceeding with the implementation. Ask who benefits or profits and who loses in terms of jobs and income; how much land, energy, water, labor and other resources are diverted from other uses; how the wastes will affect the surrounding community.

· Practice and promote proper pond/cage/tank preparation and management. Keep buffer strips of mangroves or other trees around the ponds to minimize erosion. Minimize pond tillage that exposes acid soils. If feeds are necessary, use the appropriate kind and amount.

· Oppose the clearing of mangrove forests, wetlands and other virgin areas for new ponds. Replant mangroves or other trees along the dikes of ponds.

· Oppose stream modification and massive ground water extraction for aquaculture. They can lead to flooding, land subsidence (sinking) and reduced water supply.

· Keep freshwater fishponds weed-free and well-stocked to control mosquitoes. Be aware of the waterborne diseases present in the locality and assess whether ponds significantly add to the risks of contraction by farm workers, fish handlers and consumers. Seek professional advice from public health workers.

· Support the ban of the production, sale and use of antibiotics, hormones and pesticides in food production.

· Clean (properly treat) the waste water from aquaculture facilities to prevent adverse effects on other water users. In shrimp farms, set aside some filter ponds stocked with filter-feeding mussels and nutrient consuming seaweeds. Route the waste water (with the excess feeds and other wastes) through the filter pond before disposal into coastal waters. Since antibiotics, pesticides and hormones cannot be removed from waste waters, do not use these chemicals.

Ideas for Action:

A Technology Information Kit November 23 - 28, 1992

Soil and water conservation in upland farms

Soil and water conservation in upland farms

· Construct small water impounding projects (SWIPs), small farm reservoirs and small dugout ponds to catch rainwater and runoff. Fish species, such as tilapia, can be raised for food, income, mosquito control or other benefits.

· Construct terraces (broadbase or bench terrace) along the contour of upland slopes to conserve soil moisture and facilitate efficient distribution of water, especially in rough terrain. Contour canals, which are part of terrace systems, can help to channel water into farm ponds and reservoirs.

· Spread chopped grasses or rice straw over the soil surface to completely cover the soil and minimize evaporation. Collect grasses and weeds during farm weeding and trimming of plants. For sloping and rolling lands planted to close-growing crops (e.g., pasture crop), adapt contour ditch irrigation to allow water flow down the slope between adjacent field ditches. The field ditches should be spaced fairly close to each other in order that the irrigation water can be applied uniformly.

· Protect watersheds and support reforestation efforts in the country. A well-vegetated watershed can store more water and will minimize silting of reservoirs.

· Practice contour tillage which is the practice of conducting farming operations (e.g., plowing, harrowing) along the contour rather than up and down the slope.

· Plant trees on the farm or in the home lot. Trees help to improve microclimates and can enhance the water storage capacity of a farm.

Ideas for Action:

A Technology Information Kit, November 23 - 28, 1992

Water conservation in lowland farms

Water conservation in lowland farms

Use water efficiently, minimize conveyance and distribution losses, percolation and seepage and wasteful use on the farm.

Irrigation canal

· Check canal and canal structures regularly for any leaks or structures which are not functioning properly. Repair damaged parts or structures immediately.

· Install water monitoring devices (e.g., weir, cut-throat flume, etc.) to ensure efficient water use.

· Control the amount of water applied, based on determined water demand and normal irrigation schedule.

· Cut grasses on irrigation canals. Remove debris which obstructs the flow of water.

· Remove silt which deposits along canal bottoms. Silt lessens the water capacity and flow of irrigation canals.

· If a canal passes through highly porous soils, provide a canal lining using impermeable materials (e.g., concrete).

Paddy field

· Level paddy fields properly for an even distribution of water which is applied to the paddy.

· Maintain a paddy dike height of not less than 20 cm. This will prevent water from flowing over the top of the paddy and spillage during paddy to paddy irrigation. This also allows more room for storage of rainfall water as it is accumulated, especially during the rainy season.

· Compact and plaster paddy dikes thoroughly to eliminate excessive water loss due to seepage.

· During lowland irrigation, be sure to close all spillways used in upland irrigation to reduce water loss.

· Practice crop diversification after wet season rice crop. This helps to minimize the excessive use of water in rice monocropping system and to maximize the utilization of residual soil moisture throughout the dry season.

Upland crops

· Use mulch (cut rice straw and grasses) to minimize evaporation from the soil surface and to conserve water stored in the root zone.

· Apply terminal irrigation (last application) when the standing crop is about to be harvested. This helps to maintain soil moisture at optimum levels for tillage and land preparation for the next crop.

· Synchronize fertilizer application to be applied immediately before normal irrigation schedule in order to optimize the nutrients available in the fertilizer which are soluble (released) in water.

· If furrow irrigation is adapted, avoid overly long furrows to prevent excessive water losses which will occur from deep percolation or water entering the soil.

· The use of portable plastic tubing or pressurized irrigation system (e.g., drip irrigation, microsprinkler, etc.) has shown to be cost-effective and water-efficient for areas which are not currently served by existing irrigation services. However, these systems require a relatively high initial capital investment.

Water conservation in farm households

Water conservation in farm households

Ensure that the right amount of water is used in a proper manner and at the right time.

· Place water storage tanks that collect and store rainwater from roof of the houses and other buildings.

· If the water source is a spring, build an enclosed reservoir where water from the spring can be collected. Make it a community project rather than an individual household project.

· Where possible, excess water from the spring can be diverted to communal fish ponds where fish can be cultured.

· If a ground well with a hand pump is used, provide an adjustable downspout located close to the ground to minimize splashes.

· Excess run-off water from a ground well can be drained into small ditches leading to the irrigation of vegetable gardens.

· Soak dirty farm implements and tools for easier cleaning.

· Water backyard gardens during the cool part of the day (early morning or late afternoon) and avoid too frequent watering.

· When watering plants, use a pail and small can with tiny holes at the bottom.

· Provide drinking trough for animals.

· Use mulch (cut straw or grasses) to minimize surface evaporation from your garden and reduce weed problems.

· Soak heavily soiled clothes before washing to remove large stains.

· Save rinse water from home for use in cleaning animal pens/houses.

Ideas for Action:

A Technology Information Kit, November 23 - 28, 1992

Water conservation at home and in the workplace

Deforestation, pollution and periodic droughts in the Philippines give urgency to the need for water conservation. Today, drinking water is a precious commodity; everyone must do his/her share in water conservation, so that more water is available for all.



· Conduct periodic checks of faucets in your home (especially before retiring for the night), in the office or in the workplace. (This will also help to reduce your water bill.) To check if there are leaks in the internal plumbing and fixtures, shut off all faucets. If the water meter continues to run, the fixtures need repair or there is a leak in the water supply system.

· Replacing washers of dripping faucets will help save water. One drip per second can waste 700 gallons of water each year. If it is hot water, fuel, as well as water, is wasted.

· Look out for faucets which leak at the base. The whole faucet may have to be replaced, not just the washer.


· Avoid unnecessary flushing.

· Check the toilet for leaks, not just the leaks from the bathroom pipes and faucets but leaks from the water closet. A normal toilet should not leak water from the water tank into the bowl until the flush is pulled. To check, put food coloring in the water tank. If the coloring shows up in the bowl a few minutes later, your tank may be slowly and invisibly leaking gallons of water away. Repairs are urgently needed.

· Place a brick or a larger plastic bottle filled with water or adjust the floater to reduce the amount of water entering the tank. This lessens the amount of water used to flush a toilet.

· Recycled water from other chores can be saved in a bucket and used to flush the toilet.



· Taking a shower instead of bathing in a tub consumes less water. If done correctly, the balde at tabo system consumes even less water. When taking a shower, turn off the water while shampooing and soaping; turn it on when you are ready to rinse.

· Recycle soapy water (except those with strong detergents) for flushing toilets and cleaning drive ways. During dry spells, recycled water may even be used to water plants.


· If you have a bath tub, shut the drain, allow the water to accumulate during the shower and then scoop it into a bucket for recycling.

· Another way is to bathe within a wash basin so the water is automatically collected in the basin and can then be saved for later use.

Antoher way

Washing and shaving

· Shut off the faucet when not in use. Do not leave the tap running while brushing your teeth. Instead, use a glass filled with water.

· When washing hands or face, use a basin to catch splashing water which can be recycled.

· Just as in bathing, you can save the water used in washing your hands and face or even brushing your teeth by placing a small bucket in the basin.

Washing and shaving

Saving rainwater

· Accumulate a large amount of water swiftly by using wide containers. A shallow plastic basin is preferable to a deep bucket.

· Catch the water that comes down from rain gutters on the roof of the house. You can fill an entire barrel just by catching the water that would normally go down the drain.

· Use collected water for bathing, cleaning and watering the plants. Between rains, empty the barrel to keep mosquitoes from breeding.

Households with a non-pipe water system can still follow the tips given above. They have greater advantages in water conservation provided they adapt the following suggestions:

· Fill containers with water and place where they are needed, as in the kitchen, bathroom and laundry area.

· Provide a tabo to scoop the water from containers to be used and a basin to catch used water.

· Save recycled water for later use.

Saving rainwater

Use rainwater


· Water the garden early in the morning or after sunset. This minimizes the water that is lost due to evaporation.

· Use soaker hoses instead of sprinklers which let the water soak into the soil.

· Use mulch. Mulch is any big-degradable material, such as nut shells, straws, pine needles, clipped leaves and grass which is used to cover the soil. It reduces evaporation and keeps the roots cool, lessening the need for water.

· Select and use plants that need less water.


Doing the dishes

· Do not keep the water running while washing dishes.

· Minimize the use of water first by rinsing the dishes in warm water to remove grease. Then, fill a bowl with a mixture of washing liquid and hot water. Dip a brush or scrubber into this mixture and use it to scrub the dishes. Start with glassware, then cutlery and plates and, lastly, pots and pans. Set all the scrubbed but unrinsed dishes aside until they are all done. Then, rinse them all at once in cold running water and allow them to dry in a dish rack.

· Another way: First, wipe the greasy dishes with crumpled newspapers. Prepare a basin half-full of tap water. Dip the cutlery first, then plates and, lastly, pots and pans to easily remove food residues. Transfer the used water into a bucket. In a bowl, prepare a mixture of dissolved detergent and a tablespoon of vinegar. Soap the dishes and kitchen utensills, starting with the nongreasy ones (e.g., glassware are first, then utensils starting with the nongreasy ones (e.g. glassware first then cutlery and plates and, lastly, pots and pans). Put clean water into the basin and rinse the dishes accordingly. Save the used water and rinse the dishes again until thoroughly clean. Always save used water for future use.

Doing the dishes

Doing the laundry

· Soak very dirty clothes first to easily remove the dirt.

· Use a basin or washtub.

· Do not let the basin overflow under a running tap.

· Use the right amount of detergent so that less rinsing is required.

· Save the rinse water for flushing the toilet or for cleaning the garage.


How Green is Your Home? A Filipino Primer on Home Ecology. 1991.
Water Saving Tips (MWSS).

Ideas for Action:

A Technology Information Kit, November 23 - 28, 1992

Save trees for our survival

Save trees for our survival

Trees have a major contribution to the existence of human society and are important for our survival. Trees offer food, shelter, clothing, medicine and other household, industrial and commercial material requirements. Trees provide a natural ecological balance which helps to reduce floods and droughts and prevent soil erosion. More trees also mean the production of more biomass which enhances soil fertility and soil structure. Trees are very essential in minimizing air pollution by converting carbon dioxide into life-giving oxygen and preventing the earth from warming. Lastly, trees balance the ecology, playing a critical role in global biodiversity.

How to save trees

· Minimize the use of all kinds of paper and paper by-products; when possible, reuse or recycle all paper products.

· Support a total log ban in all protected forested areas.

· Support the search for alternative live lihood activities for people living in the upland and in other protected areas. Kaingin practices, which are dependent upon new forested areas, are not sustainable and can lead to the depletion of tree resources.

· Avoid wood-cutting in the lowland and upland areas.

· Collect tree seeds and establish tree nurseries. Use tree seedlings in tree-planting campaigns.

· Organize and mobilize groups to faciIitate the protection, conservation and monitoring of forests and other protected areas. This requires continuous education and advocacy campaigns.

· Establish environmental networks among people's organizations, nongovernmental organizations, academe, business groups, religious organizations and churches, individuals and concerned government agencies.

· Enhance the political will of government agencies which have a mandate to enforce existing environmental laws. Lobby congress and other policymakers for the establishment and enforcement of environmental policies.

How to propagate and maintain trees

· Whenever possible, select and use locally available and adaptable seeds for lowland and midland areas. Plant medicinal and fruit trees and other trees that could generate immediate economic returns.

· For a higher survival rate, plant seeds in a tree nursery. Use black plastic bag, when available.

· Transplant seedlings in suitable soil type and appropriate locations. Be careful not to touch or damage the roots when transplanting.

· Water the trees regularly. (Most soil indicates proper watering practices.)

· Plant replacement trees of at least three years prior to cutting down the mature trees. Also plant trees after strong winds, typhoon, landslides, etc.

· Visit your trees regularly. Ensure proper fertilization and weed control. Nurture the trees to ensure proper growth.

· Fence off the trees to keep out animals and children.

· Learn and observe special propagation and maintenance requirements of trees that you plant.


Green Alert-Negros Environmental Network Leaflets. M.A. Velasco, 1992.

Ideas for Action:

A Technology Information Kit, November 23-28, 1992

Environment-friendly use of firewood

Environment-friendly use of firewood

Wood is the most widely used source of renewable biomass energy, with over half the wood cut each year being burned as home fuel (directly or as charcoal). Utilization of fuelwood or firewood contributes to deforestation, especially of mangroves/swamp and rural areas. Burning wood also adds to the build-up of greenhouse gases.

To be renewable, firewood must be regrown faster than it is harvested. Many developing countries are already experiencing severe wood shortages. To make firewood a sustainable energy source, it must be properly planted, managed and harvested. Firewood must also be properly prepared and dried for use.

Remember: Dry wood makes a difference in:

- lighting the fire;
- the amount of smoke produced;
- the time taken to boil water and cook food; and,
- the amount of wood use.

The drier the wood, the better it burns.
The better it burns, the less wood we need.
The less wood we need, the more trees we save.

Ways to utilize firewood with minimum environmental damage

· Gather fallen branches, twigs or dead trees, when possible, rather than cutting or felling live trees for firewood.

· Carefully harvest firewood from live trees. Cut correctly.

- Lopping is cutting the side branch off the trunk of a tree. Make two cuts, one from the top and one from the bottom of the branch to prevent tearing.

- Coppicing is cutting certain species of trees (e.g., ipil-ipil, acacia) down to a stump of 10-30 cm above ground. Make the cut clean and angled so new shoots can regrow. Coppicing should be done only on trees three to four meters high, with good root systems and only during the wet season.

- Pollarding is cutting the branches at the top of trees (only certain species like acacia). This method stimulates the growth of new, better-formed and more productive crown and reduces shade, allowing intercropping with short plants.

· Prepare firewood properly. Cut the log into equal short pieces (20-25 cm long). Split the logs into smaller, thinner pieces to increase the exposed surface area for faster drying. Dry firewood burns better.

- To prevent back injury: Cut big logs with a saw on an elevated stool. Split logs with an axe on a block.

· Dry cut firewood thoroughly, i.e., allow enough time for drying before using.

Stack them neatly to dry under a shed.

- It helps to have an elevated wood pile with three sections. Wet firewoods go into the first section, are transferred to the next as they get drier and are used up in last section. A layer of wood ash on the ground prevents insects from attacking the firewood.

· Use efficient wood stoves. Practice efficient cooking habits (e.g., cook in large rather than small amounts, several rather than single items).

· Plant firewood species preferably on lands also used for food production or lands not suitable for other uses.

· Try local alternatives to fuelwood: charcoal and DRY coconut husks, rice straws, corn stalks and driftwood.

· Do not clear forests for firewood. Firewood is renewable, but forests are not.

Utilize firewood with minimum environmental damage


Cooking to Conserve: Energy Conservation Lessons for Upper Primary School Home Science Classes. Bellerive Foundation, P.O. Box 42994, Nairobi, Kenya.

Ideas for Action:

A Technology Information Kit, November 23 - 28, 1992

Making a haybasket cooker

What you will need

· a basket at least 35 cms deep and 35 cms in diameter
· a piece of cloth
· a needle
· thread
· scissors
· 1 sack of insulating material (very dry hay or grass, wood shavings or newspapers)
· cooking pan 30 cms in diameter with a well-fitting lid
· a flat stone approximately the same diameter as the pan

Measuring from the top, make a mark on the inside of the basket at 25 cms. Fill the basket of this line with the insulating material.

Place your pan in the center of the piece of cloth. Collect the corners of the cloth above the centre of pan, making a bag.

Place this bag containing the pan on top of the insulating material in the basket. Firmly pack more insulating material inside the basket, around the bag and up to the top of the basket.

Open out the bag and tuck the edges of the cloth down between the insulating material and the inside of the basket. Stitch the cloth to the top rim of the basket.

Make a cushion which is slightly larger than the lid of the pan, filling it with the same insulating material. This will be placed on top of the pan as extra insulation.

Turn the lid upside down and fill it with insulating material. Then cover it with a piece of cloth.

Tuck the edges of the cloth between the insulating material and the inside of the lid. Stitch the cloth all the way around, along the inside corner of the basket lid.,

Advantages of fireless cooking

· It produces tasty food that keeps its shape and colour.
· It is almost impossible to burn or overcook food as the temperature decreases gradually.
· It makes even tough meat quite tender.
· Food is more nutritious. As food only boils briefly, nutrients are not destroyed.
· It requires much less fuel; energy consumption is reduced by 3 to 20 times.
· It is safe for children as they cannot get burned.
· It is easy to use. It takes less of the cook's time: there is no fire to be watched.
· During hot weather, the kitchen stays cool.
· Food can be kept warm for a long time for family or friends who arrive late.

Advantages of fireless cooking

Using a haybasket cooker

Now, that we have made a haybasket cooker, let's look at how to use it. When a hot pan of food is placed on top of the hot stone inside the basket, all the heat is trapped inside. This heat will continue to cook the food and keep it hot.

1. Bring to a boil the food in a pot covered well with a lid. Let the food simmer for a short time. At the same time, get a flat stone very hot. Remember to use a stone approximately the same diameter as the pan.

2. Put the heated stone in the bottom of the haybasket. Position the covered pan of hot food on top of it.

3. Place the cushion, then the insulated lid on top of the pan and leave the food to cook slowly.

Haybasket cooker


Outreach No. 83.

Ideas for Action:

A Technology Information Kit, November 23 - 28, 1992