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close this bookIdeas for Action : Save, Recycle and Do Not Pollute (IIRR, 1992, 146 p.)
close this folderEnvironmental action
View the documentHow to organize the community for environmental action
View the documentTaking action
View the documentCommunity vigilance for environmental protection
View the documentEnvironmentally-friendly school kids
View the documentCreation of a marine protected area
View the documentKnow the laws: report crimes against the environment!
View the documentEarthquake. preparedness
View the documentTyphoon preparedness
View the documentVolcanic eruption preparedness

How to organize the community for environmental action

Environmental action should involve many if not all members of the community, namely: farmers, women, youth, workers, fisherfolks, urban poor and upland settlers. These groups must tee organized in order to pursue environmentally sound and sustainable development.

Steps in community organizing

The process of organizing is not strictly chronological but continuous and flexible. One or more steps can be done at the same time.

· Conduct Research for Baseline Information-The process of gathering all relevant data about the community, such as physical characteristics (e.g., location, area, natural resources, climate, etc.), demographic features, economic and sociopolitical aspects of the community, environmental problems, etc. This could be done by checking local newspapers, municipal/city halls, planning boards, local libraries, public records and all local, provincial and national agencies. If the information is complex or scientific, consult experts. Contact universities, investigative reporters, local environmental groups, local environmental lawyers or sympathetic local scientists.

The purpose of this is to obtain first-hand information about environmental problems faced by the community (a basis for determining what specific information the people in the village need) and what can motivate them to take action on their environmental problems. This could be done through participatory rapid appraisal which includes spot mapping, ocular survey, transect mapping and individual interviews.

· Integrate (Go to the people, Live among them)-The process whereby the organizer establishes rapport and a constructive relationship with the people. Mutual respect and trusts are the key elements that characterize an effective integration.

· Feedback/Validate the Results of the Baseline Data Gathering-The purpose is to inform the people about the whole situation of the community and to fill in data gaps. This could be done through a village level talakayan or discussion.

· Identify Core Group-The process of selecting natural leaders or "progressive" members of the identified priority group(s) or tapping existing structure/organization in the community. The core group serves as catalyst or prime over in the implementation of identified environmental actions.

· Formalize/Strengthen Community Organization-The role and responsibility of each member vis-a-vis the environmental activities and tasks are identified and agreed upon. This is known as the "functional" organization. Provide skills improvement workshops and encourage links with other institutions.

· Conduct Education and Training Programmes-The purpose is to develop the capabilities and skills of the members and to raise environmental awareness among the entire community. This could be done through fore, symposia, discussion groups, production of environmental materials, on-the job trainings and cross-village exposure programme (experiential learning).

· Encourage Local Community Participation-Incorporate environmental activities into their community-based programmes, i.e., tree-planting, cleanliness drive, campaign for installation of toilets and garbage pits.

· Link with Other Organizations (Networking) -- This enables the organizations to tackle problems or issues that are too large or too complex for any single organization to address. By linking up with other organizations, i.e., academic, business, media, lawyers, government and nongovernment agencies, all of them can more effectively address their common problems or pursue their common aspirations.

· Undertake Resource Mobilization Activities-The purpose is to obtain materials and funds that the organization needs to carry out their environmental programmes. This will start with internal resource mobilization (e.g., members contributing materials or financial support) followed by external resource mobilization once they have exhausted all internal resources.

· Mobilize the Community-The people affected by an issue lobby and negotiate with the agency which is responsible for a particular service. They request assistance or demand their rights, depending on what institution they are negotiating with. This could be in the form of petition letters, dialogues, or a more complex one like a rally or demonstration.

· In some cases, the affected community meets with polluters. Once you have a sizable followers (50 to 500 members or sympathizers), hold a neighborhood or town meeting and be sure to invite the executives from the offending company, i.e., sugar central, open pit mine, coal-fired plant, logging company.

· Monitor and Evaluate Your Programmes -This is sometimes referred to as reflection or programme assessment, whereby the members of the group constantly reflect upon what they are doing in order to ensure that they are doing the correct thing or are on the right path. This is the process where the strengths and weaknesses of the programme are being culled out.

Taking action

All over the world, young people are already taking up their responsibilities for the environment but many of these activities undertaken in different parts Or the world could be replicated in other regions:

1. Organizing youth environmental groups, associations, corps, wildlife clubs, etc.

2. Networking subregionally, regionally and globally with other environmental youth groups through exchanging newsletters and other publications and holding seminars, training courses and exchange programmes on specific environmental issues. (Names of environmental nongovernmental organizations can be obtained from the Environment Liaison Centre, P. O. Box 72461, Nairobi, Kenya.)

3. Holding training camps for student conservation leaders and senior members of school conservation clubs, community youth clubs and other interested students to give them a better understanding of conservation principles and management practices and help them become efficient leaders in volunteer conservation work.

4. Developing environmental education packs and distributing them to other environmental youth groups and organizations.

5. Putting youth organizations on the mailing lists of organizations concerned with the environment such as UNEP (for the bimonthly UNEP News and CONNECTT, a quarterly environmental education newsletter).

6. Informing the media, particularly UNEP News, about successful conservation and resource management activities so they can be publicized.

7. Organizing national essay contests on environmental themes. Prizes could include trips to international or national environment projects.

8. Writing to people in government and industry who are making decisions that affect the environment.

9. Informing the media of local environmental problems.

10. Organizing group discussions on issues such as population growth, management of natural resources, development, poverty and environmental degradation.

11. Campaigning to properly adjust inappropriate development, such as ill-planned irrigation schemes, dams, etc.

12. Asking national governments to include young people in their delegations to national, regional and global environmental meetings (UNEP made a formal request to national governments to include young people in delegations to the 13th Session of its Governing Council in 1985).

13. Raising funds -- at schools, churches, mosques, temples, etc. -- to sponsor positive environmental activities.

14. Preparing surveys of and assessing existing environmental legislation.

15. Publishing manuals explaining environmental legislation to young people so they can lobby for change.

16. Campaigning for the formulation of additional environmental laws and conventions and the upgrading of the existing ones.

17. Producing and sharing ideas -- including new inventions -- on how to alleviate the burdens that degraded environments lay on women as the main drawers of water and hewers of wood in the third world.

18. Involving young women in youth organizations to crease a link with women's groups also concerned with environmental problems.

19. Forming pressure groups to lobby for action on such major environmental problems as water pollution, desertification, drought and famine. Other issues of environmental dimensions which should interest youth today include noise and exhaust smoke abatement (trucks, buses, motorcycles, etc.).

20. Organizing practical demonstrations and pilot activities on specific environmental problems.

21. Establishing tree nurseries, including those of indigenous species.

22. Running training courses in nursery management as part of income-generating schemes for youth organizations.

23. Setting up seedling distribution projects.

24. Planting and caring for trees in school compounds, business centres, etc.

25. Holding forestry work camps to provide young people with education in country side conservation.

26. Running school forest projects under which a school adopts a small area of woodland as its "school forest" which it then manages under the auspices of, say, the national forestry department. Schoolchildren would prepare the site by clearing vegetation; plant tree seedlings; care for the young trees by replacing dead seedlings, weeding, fertilizing, constructing and maintaining fire breaks; and, manage the established forest by pruning branches and thinning overcrowded trees.

27. Mobilizing community and individual efforts to preserve national forests.

28. Encouraging the appreciation of forest products and research on their uses.

29. Monitoring the local environment -- the health of rivers and lakes and of the air and the soil.

30.-Conducting surveys of the local environment to pinpoint sources of environmental pollution, such as sewage systems and factories and monitoring the effects of the widespread use of plastic packaging. Alerting local and national authorities to these findings and suggesting solutions.

31. Creating awareness of the negative impacts of various products and services on the environment and suggesting alternative products and services which do less environmental damage.

32. Encouraging young people to join groups working on how to increase food production without depleting the soil.

33. Promoting the cultivation of indigenous crops and wild plants as sources of food and learning to fully utilize such plants, their flowers, seeds, etc.

34. Discussing the pros and cons of using inorganic fertilizers.

35. Promoting wasteland development programmes.

36. Controlling vectors of water-borne diseases.

37. Running public health education programs to promote community action to control environmental diseases.

38. Running campaigns to clear litter.

39. Constructing and maintaining footpaths and picnic facilities.

40. Creating and maintaining nature trails and sites.

41. Clearing fire breaks and cutting tall grass in areas of potential fire danger.

42. Promoting those aspects of indigenous cultures which promote conservation and enhancement of the environment.

43. Promoting family life education programmes relating to increasing population and sustainable development.

44. Promoting the use of alternative sources of energy, such as the sun, the wind and gas from decaying vegetation and other organic matter.

45. Promoting the use of energy-conserving stoves.

46. Collecting wastes, such as paper, glass and tins, for delivery to recycling facilities.

47. Campaigning for wildlife conservation and the protection of endangered species.

48. Promoting activities that control the damage done by marine pollution and the mismanagement of coasts, such as cleaning up beaches and campaigning against the sale of coral, shells, starfish, etc.

49. Protesting against the huge sums of money spent by developed and developing countries on armaments.

Taking action

Ideas for action:

A Technology Information Kit, November 23 - 28, 1992

Community vigilance for environmental protection

Here are some sustainable efforts you and your community can do to protect and preserve the environment:


· Have full information about the problem you are organizing around. Whether it is information on polluters or environmental problems that affect your community -- get the facts. Know who owns, or is responsible for, the resulting pollution or industrial wastes being emitted by a certain corporation or which government agency has given the go-signal for its establishment.

- Access all available information sources. Check local newspapers, city hall, planning boards, local libraries, public records and all local, -provincial and national agencies.

- If the information is complex or scientific, con suit experts. Contact universities, investigative reporters (who may have contacted experts), local environmental groups, local environmental attorneys or sympathetic local government scientists.

· Write a simple fact sheet. Have available for organizing and the media a simple fact sheet describing your problem and the sources of your information. This increases credibility with the public, the media and the elected officials.

Fact sheet

· Establish goals. After obtaining and analyzing information, establish goals. These can include stopping a government project or taking legal action, or simply drawing attention to a local polluter. Remember: in practicing environmental democracy, your group must together plan corrective campaigns; carry out or execute the planned actions; evaluate; and, take the next best steps. DIRECT ACTION GETS RESULTS.

Establish goals

· Find an appropriate name for your organization. Try to make it positive (i.e., not Citizen's against the Chico Dam but rather Citizen's for the Chico River).

Name for your organization

· Build your local organization. Go from door to door to get more activists for your group. Use the media to publicize your efforts. Your core group should build a community group with large numbers of members. Examples of initial activities may include public meetings, demonstrations, petition drives, letter writing campaigns, etc.

Activities of your local organization

· Network with other organizations with similar goals. The more diverse a coalition, the more powerful a constituency. Also, experience (and expenditures) can be shared.

Network with other organization

· Meet with targetted polluter(s) or elected official(s). Once you have a sizable following (50-500 members) and some working communities, hold a neighborhood or town meeting and be sure to invite executives or officials from the offending company, sugar central, open pit mine, coal-fired plant or alcohol plant. The same applies to local officials.

Meet with targetted polluter(s) or elected official(s)

· For corporate targetting, negotiate and implement a Good Neighbor Agreement --Having officials at a neighborhood accountability session can get them to begin a course of action resulting in a Good Neighbor Agreement.

A Good Neighbor Agreement, in its simplest form, is a contract between a corporation and a citizens' group where the corporation agrees to change a product or a process. These agreements result in pollution-prevention measures more stringent than those required under environmental laws.

A Good Neighbor Agreement

Ideas for Action:

A Technology Information Kit, November 23 - 28, 1992

Environmentally-friendly school kids

School kids can make a difference in the maintenance of a healthy surrounding. Their habits and practices at home, in school and in the community count a lot, hence, the need to develop in them the desirable health values. Activities can be done well as individuals or as a group.

Not these

1. Pack lunch in plastic bag, tin foil or styrofoam.

2. Drop/throw candy wrappers, etc., anywhere.

3. Buy foods packed in plastic or styrofoam.


1. Pack lunch in clean banana leaves, wax paper or lunch box.

2. Put trash in a paper bag or keep inside the school bag or pocket and then throw in a garbage receptacle.

3. Buy fruits with peeling, home-made cakes and other indigenous foods like corn in a cob.

Not these

4. Sweep the school yard and put the waste in a garbage receptacle.

5. Water and care for plants.

6. Write only on one side of the paper. Do not reuse old notebooks.

7. Never mind cleaning. Just play.

8. Buy street food.


4. Sweep the yard and throw the waste over the fence.

5. Never mind the plants.

6. Write on both sides of paper and use all the pages of notebooks.

7. Follow a regular schedule for cleaning.

8. Buy food from the school canteen.

Go green... Plant the big-intensive way!

Layout for a small-scale, household level, vegetable production plot

Total area: 400-500 sq ft. (37 - 46 sq m.)
Output: 3-6 lbs. (1.3 - 2 7 kg) per day for 300 days

Technological Profile

1. Plot size: Only 200-300 sq. feet of growing bed area.

2. Bed preparation

· Raised, narrow, deep dug (12"-24") beds.

· Use of compost or other alternatives such as mudpress (8-27 cubic feet/100 sq. feet bed).

· High-labor usage initially (2-6 hours/100 sq. feet bed).

· In humid-tropics: possibility of eliminating subsequent digging of beds.

· The use of narrow beds restricts compaction to the pathways only.

· Continuous crop cover and mulch compaction (within beds) from rain fall.

3. Bed fertilization

· 8 cubic of compost or mudpress (by-product of sugar mills) egg shells, bone-meal, wood or cane trash, ash, ipil-ipil leaves/fish meal.

· Use of liquid manures or manure teas (fermented water-manure mixtures).

· Inclusion of nitrogen-fixing crops into the annual crop cycle.

4. Crop planning

· Crop rotation (root, leaf, legume and fruit crops) at regenerating soils and breaking pest life cycles.

· Intercropping (long and short-duration crops).

· Conservation of genetic resources through the promotion of local varieties (backyard curators).

· Inclusion of culturally acceptable nutritionally important vegetables (amaranth, rice bean, winged bean, etc.)

· Diversification of diet through cultivation of a wide range of vegetables or through use of plants with multipurpose uses.

· Inclusion of short-duration crops to deal with wet-season and/or dry-season food deficiencies.

· Cultivation of trellis-crops along side the growing beds.

· Perennial, polycultural, multistoried fence crops (edible fences).

5. Water conservation

· Close spacing of crops reduces evaporation from the soil.

· Mulching lowers soil temperature and reduces evaporation..

· Deep tillage and organic matter in the soil encourage water entry and conservation within bed (reduces runoff).

· Overall, a 30-50 percent reduction of water needs can be expected.

6. Weeding

· Significant reduction of weeding time (70 percent of weeding time is eliminated.)

· Significant reduction in the growth of weeds due to deep tillage, mulching and close spacing of crops.

7. Pest control

· Soil improvement, good drainage, balanced soil nutritional status, presence of beneficial fungi (mychorrhiza) are the basis for pest reduction.

· Growing a diversity of crops reduces insects.

· Inclusion of acclimatized, hardy, pest-tolerant indigenous varieties.

· Use of medicinal plants that also have insect-repellent properties (as intercrops).

· Use of botanical formulations as pest control sprays.

· Encouragement of predatory species of insects.

8. Outputs

Current Output

Village Level

0.6 kgs./100. sq. ft./day

Campus Plot

0.75 kgs./100 sq. ft./day

Potential Output

200 sq. feet of growing bed area

1.3 - 2.7 kgs.per day

Perennial, fence crops

(90 feet 1.5 - 2.5 kgs. long) per day


The use of compost, based on animal manure, is an essential component in the big-intensive approach. Equally important is the use of liquid manures on plants less than two months old.

Yes, you can!
Help clean the environment!

· Recycle at home and at school.

· Use paper scraps for notes and drafts.

· Buy products packaged in glass, paper or metal containers.

· Reuse glass containers for storing sugar, coffee, nuts, grains, holders for pens and pencils, clips, pushpens, screws and other household, school and office items.

· Bring a basket when you go marketing.

· Avoid using styrofoam.

· Compost your organic wastes (leaves, grass clippings, kitchen waste) for your garden.

· Reuse materials to make things you need.

· Use scrap paper, cardboard, dry twigs and coconut leaves as fire kindlers and sticks, wood cuttings for cooking (firewood).

· Give away your extra clothes and toys to your relatives or to the poor.

Grow with a tree!


· Sow a seed in a plastic bag.


· The seed becomes a small plant.


· Transplant the seedling in the garden.

· Care for the plant by putting a tree guard.

· Weed and mulch around the plant.

· Water the growing tree.

· See the blooming tree with bees and butterflies, sipping nectar from its flowers.


· Enjoy the fruits of the tree.

Ideas for Action:

A Technology Information Kit, November 23 - 28, 1992

Creation of a marine protected area

What is a marine protected area?

A marine protected area is a portion of coastal land and water identified and set aside by the government for reasons of their physical and biological significance, managed end protected against destruction by human exploitation. A protected area may include a sanctuary for strict preservation (i.e.,- no fishing, no gathering, no use, no disturbance) and a surrounding buffer zone or reserve where non-destructive forms of utilization are allowed, including some or all of the following:

- Limited fishing-sustained yield harvest; restricted gears and methods; seasonal fishing; catch and size limits.

- Recreation/ecotourism

- Habitat restoration/rehabilitation

- Research/education

Why are marine protected areas necessary?

Overfishing, destruction of marine habitats and the resulting decline in fish catches plague small-scale fishermen throughout the Philippines. The establishment of marine protected areas is along-recognized strategy for resource conservation and management. Protection and management of marine areas result in marked increases in fish abundances and fish yields. Sanctuaries/reserves protect breeding populations of corals, mollusks, fishes, shrimps, mangroves and seagrasses from which neighboring depleted areas can be recolonized.

What coastal habitats can be turned into a marine protected area?

Mangrove swamps/lagoons, estuaries and river mouths, coral reefs, seagrass beds and near-shore soft bottom habitats, each by itself or together where contiguous, can be turned into a protected area. The economic and ecological importance of these habitats and the destruction they have suffered are well known.

Coastal habitats

Why should coastal communities get involved?

Coastal (basically fishing) communities benefit from marine resource conservation and management. Resources cannot be protected or enhanced unless those who exploit the resources are committed to this goal. Education and community organization are the means to marine resource management.

How to create a marine sanctuary/reserve for small communities?

Site selection. Select a target coastal community that is relatively discrete and that has coral reefs, seagrass beds or mangrove swamps under exploitation (based on prior research). Small islands provide a geographical advantage to marine resource management because of decreased access to non-residents. Island communities can more easily identify with their marine resources as territories over which they have some control.

Community assessment. Talk to the community elders, youth, women, men and determine how they perceive their socioeconomic conditions and the natural resources. Pay attention to community needs. Development and conservation projects must include components with bearing to daily people's lives, such as medical assistance, water supply, education, etc.

Project proposition. Introduce or reinforce the idea of marine resources management, the immediate need for habitat conservation and rehabilitation and the idea of marine sanctuary/reserve.

Community organizing. Identify community groups that have experience or interest in (marine) management. Facilitate the formation of the specific groups in charge of the establishment, management and protection of the marine sanctuary/reserve.

Community education and training. Start an education program to raise environmental awareness among the entire community. Local residents must understand and see the link between degraded marine habitats and reduced fish catches, so they will take action to improve habitat quality. Include community-wide presentations, using slides, posters and lectures and participatory classes, such as coral reef monitoring by snorkeling or observation of plankton through microscopes. Classes must be informal, in small groups or one-on-one contact, with focus on marine ecology and resource management.

Networking. Establish linkages with all potential participants and obtain moral and financial support for plans to start a community-based marine sanctuary. Share resources. Include the local governments, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Agriculture (DA), schools, police and Coast Guard, nongovernment organizations and sectors that impact on the coastal environment and affect the success of the marine protected area-agriculture, fisheries, aquaculture, logging, tourism, mining, oil drilling, etc.

Community education and training

Participatory research. Obtain baseline data on the marine resources around the community, with the help of the community, nearby schools, DA and DENR. Map the coastal area in terms of the physico-chemical characteristics, the state of the resources and the fishing practices, intensity and yields. Complete environmental and resource-use surveys and analyses are a prerequisite to helping a community decide on a feasible management plan which can offer tangible results.

Participatory research

Formulation of sanctuary/reserve guidelines and regulations. Define the various use zones, boundaries and management options based on community needs and preferences, the remaining habitat cover, accessibility to monitoring and patrolling, etc. Clearly set regulatory provisions and the corresponding penalties for violations. Identify responsibilities and decide who does what.

Legalization and declaration. Refine the guidelines and regulations into a legal document for adoption by the municipal and national governments through DENR. Officially declare and inaugurate the marine sanctuary/reserve. Write the municipal ordinance in the local language, post it prominently in public and publish in the local papers. Demark the sanctuary/reserve by buoys and signs. Register the new protected area in the UN List of National Parks and Equivalent Reserves, as security against declassification and allocation to other uses.

Legalization and declaration

Management and enforcement. Manage the various use zones of the protected area according to the principles of sustainability of ecosystem and resources and equitability of benefits. Actively patrol the area for violations by local residents or outsiders and enforce penalties with support from the police/Coast Guard. Stock depleted species in the reserve, replant seagrass and mangroves, install artificial reefs and initiate sea ranching activities. Employ residents (not outsiders) in research and ecotourism projects.

Review and monitoring. Assess regularly the progress and status of the sanctuary/reserve. Invite observers (other communities, students, government, NGOs, etc.).

Ideas for Action:

A Technology Information Kit, November 23-28, 1992

Know the laws: report crimes against the environment!

Forestry law

PD 705 or the Revised Forestry Code of the Philippipes states that all lands with slope that is 18 percent or above is considered government-owned land.

The following activities are considered crimes or administrative violations:

· Clearcutting (PD 705, Sec. 22a).

· Cutting, gathering or trading of forest products, e.g., timber, rattan, orchids, etc., without a permit (PD 705, Sec. 633.

· Cutting trees with permit but failing subsequently to reforest or replant (PD 705, Sec. 37).

· Harvesting and trading of undersized logs and seed trees (PD 805, Sec. 25).

· Exportation of flitches and squared logs (AO No. 7 Series 1987).

· Hunting of animals or cutting and destroying of trees or plants within national parks, watershed areas and similar reservations (PD 705 Secs. 71 and 72).

· Use of forest lands, grazing lands and alienable and disposable lands that have not yet been disposed by the government (PD 705 Sec. 70).

· Cutting, injuring or destroying plants, shrubs or trees along public roads, in plazas, parks, schools and other public grdunds, except as demanded by public safety and when the pruning enhances its beauty (RA 3571)

· Harvesting of banned tree species like almaciga (AO No. 74 Series 1987), tindalo, akle or molave (ACT No. 3572).

· Collection and trade of endangered species such as the pawikan, Philippine Crocodile, etc., without proper permit from the DENR or DA.

RA 3571 aims to:

· promote and conserve the beauty of objects of scenic and ornamental values along public places; and,

· help preserve cool, fresh and healthful climate.

The cutting, injuring, destroying or pruning shall only be legal when approved by the Director of Parks and Wildlife.

Fisheries law

The governing law is PD 704 or the Fisheries Decree of 1975. Violations include the following:

· Use of destructive fishing methods like hand-made or manufactured dynamite fishing (PD 704, Sec.3 1); cyanide fishing or the use of other poisonous chemicals (PD 704, Sec. 33); muro-ami and kayakas (Fishery Administrative Order or FAO 163); hulbot-hulbot (FAO 164); pantakos (FAO 122) and trawl fishing (PD 704, Sec.35) and the sale or possession of fish or any aquatic product that has been illegally caught. (PD 705 and PD 1053).

· Trawl-fishing by commercial boats or vessels of more than three gross tons in waters within a distance of seven kms from the shoreline or waters of seven fathoms or 42 ft deep. (PD 1015 Sec. 2; LOI 1328; FAO 156 Series of 1986).

· Exportation of any corals in raw form; gathering of precious or semi-precious corals without permit; or of ordinary corals (reef-builders) even with a permit. (PD 1219; PD 1698).

· Taking, selling, transporting of mollusks and marine turtles (CITES).

· Use of fine mesh nets with size of less than three cm. measured between two separate knots of a full mesh when stretched (PD 704 Sec. 34 and FAO 155 Series of 1986).

· Exportation of bangus fry (PD 704, Sec. 36).

· Exportation of live prawns of any size (FAO 143).

· Catching, selling, possessing and transporting of sabalo or bangus measuring 60 cms or more (FAO 129, 129-1, 129-2).

· Discharge of any factory refuse or any substance or material that is harmful to aquatic or marine life (PD 704, Sec. 37, 1975).

· Clear cutting of mangrove swamps bordering islands and used to protect the shoreline, roads and coastal communities (PD 705, Sec. 43).

Presidential Decree No. 1219, as amended by PD 1698, states that it is illegal to:

· Gather, harvest, collect, or export ordinary corals.

· Export precious and semi-precious corals, unless these corals are processed and manufactured into finished products in the Philippines.

The above mentioned kinds of corals are defined by PD 1219, as follows:

· Precious corals are represented by red, pink and white corals.

Sec. 3b[i]. Precious corals-skeleton of Anthozoan coelenterate characterized as having a rigid axis of compact alcareous or horny spicules, belonging to the genus corralium as represented by the red, pink and white corals.

· Semi-precious corals are represented by black corals.

Sec. 3b[ii] Semi-precious coral - skeleton of Anthozoan coelenterate characterized by a thorny, horny axis, such as the Antipartharians as represented by the black corals.

· Ordinary corals are those corals which are neither precious nor semi-precious.

Reasons for the law

· Precious and semi-precious corals are allowed to be exported so long as they are processed within the Philippines because the exploitation of these corals can help generate employment and more revenues for the country.

· Ordinary corals are not to be touched because coral reefs serve as haven for fishes and other marine life forms. Coral reefs provide, among others, protection and food to said animals. It is also in coral reefs where fishes lay. their eggs. On the tourism side, coral reefs enhance the beauty of the Philippine underwater; thus, enabling the country to lure a number of tourist, particularly divers.

Pollution law

Presidential Decree No. 1152 (Philippine Environment Code) provides in Sec. 49, that the dumping or disposal of solid wastes into the sea and any body of water in the Philippines, including shorelines and river banks, where the wastes are likely to be washed into the water, is prohibited. Wastes pose immediate or imminent danger to life and property.

According to Sec. 45 of the same PD, solid waste disposal shall be by sanitary landfill, incineration, composting and other methods as may be approved by competent government authority.

Reasons for the prohibition include the following:

· Garbage dirties the water, killing the life forms that thrive therein.

· Garbage causes the water to appear and smell obnoxious, like the Pasig River.

· The garbage you throw will ultimately affect you.

Actions considered violations of the pollution law:

· Emission by industrial establishments (factories, poultry farms, piggeries, power plants, manufacturing firms, etc.) of substances containing dusts, chemicals, smoke and other toxic materials in harmful quantities as defined by law (PD 984, Sec. 3).

· Dumping of untreated mine tailings in critical areas, e.g., navigable rivers and waterways (PD 1067 Art, 91)

· Dumping of untreated domestic waste and garbage along any shore and banks of rivers, streams and lakes in violation of existing zoning, housing and pollution-control regulations (PD 1152, Sec. 46-43)..

· Sale, use and disposal of toxic and hazardous chemicals as well as banned fertilizers, fungicides and pesticides (PD 1144, Sec. 7).

· Smoke belching by motor vehicles (PD I 131, Sec. 3,4 and 5) and operating without an environmental compliance certificate (ECC) by industries (PD I 151 Sec. 4; PD 1536, Sec. 2 and 43 are administrative violations where the liability of the violatoris an administrative fine or cancellation of license or closure of establishment.

Reporting crimes against the environment

Reporting crimes against the environment

Where to report violations of environmental laws

· Barangay-through the chairman or other officers

· Municipality-through the mayor, any member of the Sangguniang Bayan or Panglunsod, as the case may be, or any other concerned local government officer

· Field offices of government agencies tasked to enforce the violated environmental laws

· Nongovernment organizations (NGOs) concerned with the protection and conservation of the environment

· Other nonconventional ways of reporting:

- through school principals and/or teachers;
- through parents and/or elders; and,
- through the media-television, radio, newspaper.

Important reminders for everyone

· Know the proper government agencies.


Department of Agriculture and its field offices for violation of fisheries laws.

Bureau of Forest Development (BFD) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for violation of forestry laws.

Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau of the DENR for violation in the collection, utilization and management of wild flora and fauna.

· Know the specific persons in the community, school or organizations who are active and dedicated supporters of environmental protection and conservation to ensure that their reporting would not be futile.

· Be encouraged to report and act as witnesses. Request government and nongovernment officers to brief the people on their different environmental protection programs. Be aware that everyone must work hand-in-hand with the government to achieve a full-proof effort.

· Learn to follow up with the persons/offices the violations that have been reported to. Each agency has different processes of follow-up.

Earthquake. preparedness

Earthquakes can occur without warning, either from volcanic eruptions or tectonic fault movements. After a major earthquake, secondary shocks may occur.

Pre-earthquake activities

· The community should organize a Barangay Disaster Coordinating Council, headed by the Barangay Captain. Any responsible person could be a member or could assist in the disaster preparedness program. Nongovernment organizations (NGOs) and people's organizations can actively organize, coordinate and implement.

· Hold disaster preparedness workshops and training such as drills (maneuvers, operations and exercises). Regular and repeated practices enable people to acquire discipline and skills in the face of disasters.

· NGOs can initiate disaster preparedness. GOs and NGOs should build rapport at the barangay levels and with building occupants in population centers to facilitate drills to mitigate the effects of earthquakes (or any natural disaster). As an old adage goes: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Prepareoness through drills saves millions of pesos and thousands of lives during disasters.

Pre-earthquake activities

During an earthquake

· The first rule is Do not Panic. Many deaths occur when people panic and are killed by the stampede. In public places (theaters, auditoriums and other enclosed places where people congregate), casualties are usually high among the old, the weak and the children.

· When the earthquake occurs at night while sleeping, get under the bed or under the table. Remain stationary until the tremor subsides. Lights automatically go out and it will be very dangerous trying to run.

· In buildings, occupants should hide under a table, away from cabinets, walls and electrical fixtures. When the building shows signs of collapsing, run upstairs instead of downstairs. Do not push through your way. Do not use the elevator/escalator. If trapped, do not move until the arrival of rescuers.

During an earthquake

· In the street, stay away from buildings and high tension wires. Going to the middle of the street after all the moving vehicles have stopped is the most logical action that should be done. Remain in your location until after the secondary shock. Traffic will be stalled, including the LRT. Therefore, better proceed on foot to your home or to an area where you can avail of transport.

· For people living near the shorelines, see discussion on tsunami in the Volcanic Eruption Prenaredness paper

· For people living in the hills, near high walls, banks of rivers, fishponds and the like, immediately move away from the area after the initial shock. Landslides, collapsing of walls, cave-ins, erosion may happen and could endanger your life. Do not bring your belongings because they hamper your escape. Take-account of the members of the family.

· Several aftershocks may still occur. Avoid walking near buildings, sign boards, trees, power lines, gas stations, etc. Assist victims of the calamity.

After the earthquake

Refer to relevant discussions in the paper Volcanic Eruption Preparedness.

After the earthquake

Typhoon preparedness

To save lives and properties, do the following:

Before the typhoon

· Prepare for the coming typhoons. Starting the month of June, make sure that your house is structurally sound. Close, secure and reinforce weak parts of the house Inspect the roof attachments. Re-nail/re-tie all loose nails/ties of the roof and other parts of the building. If necessary, use fish nets and some weight in the roofing to prevent it from being carried by the wind.

· Close windows or nail them with a piece of wood. Test them for stability. Leave open a portion of the house in the leeward side, or vice versa if the wind direction changes to avoid destruction of the house due to wind pressure, inside as well as outside.

· Stock enough non-perishable food and potable water for the family good for one week. Cooking utensils and equipment, stove, LPG and emergency light should be secured in a safe place together with the water and food supplies.

· Remove breakable materials, wall decorations, contents of shelves and cabinets and clothes from clothesline and put them in safe places. Put all important documents in a water-proofed container. Transfer to the most secure room all important items and appliances.

Before the typhoon (1)

· If you have a motor vehicle, fill it with gas in case you would need it during emergency.

· For those with banca, relocate it to a high place. Invert and tie it to a stable foundation. You can also fill the banca with sand and submerge it in the water. Anchor a big banca in a well-protected place away from big waves.

· Open your radio, listen to the latest update on the typhoon and the alert signals that are being broadcast.

· Umbrella, raincoat, hard hat, boots, flash light and extra batteries will be very useful during the emergency. Have them on stand-by for immediate use.

· To avoid getting electrocuted, shut off the electric main switch before the house gets flooded.

· Know the nearest evacuation center (churches, schools, public buildings) and evacuate your family to this place, if necessary.

· When you have completed preparing for yourself and your family, try to help in the disaster preparedness effort for public structures like schools, churches, hospitals and other buildings.

Before the typhoon (2)

· Collect all debris in the yard so they would not be carried by strong winds and hurt people and destroy properties.

· If you have a dug well, cover it and remove the pail and/or the lift pump.

· Secure livestocks (chicken, cows, carabaos, goats, pigs) in cages, pens, or other enclosures, but do not tie them. You may also let them loose in the field to prevent them from being hurt.

· Clear coconut trees of dead leaves and dried branches of other trees.

Before the typhoon (3)

During the typhoon

· Stay inside the house/building. If you are outside, you may be hit by objects carried by the wind or flood, fall into open manhole or get electrocuted.

· Do not let children wade in the flood water. It is very risky. Even if children are held by the elders, they could still be carried away by flood or strong wind.

· Do not leave your location, not even to join your family. So many casualties have been reported of people who tried to run during the height of the storm.

· Hide in safe places. The safest place in your home is the smallest room located on the leeward side relative to the wind direction. You may hide under a table or any strong structure if your house is about to collapse.

· Cover your glass windows and appliances with cloth to avoid splinters.

· Wear additional clothing to avoid catching cold or other respiratory diseases.

During the typhoon

After the typhoon

· Stay in the house/building/evacuation center until a few hours after the typhoon has passed. Some residual rain and wind may still come.

· Survey the typhoon damage with great caution. Look out for fallen power lines, broken glasses, weakened structures and undermined trees.

· Disease outbreaks are always expected as an aftermath of a calamity. Cook your food adequately and boil your drinking water. Go to the health authorities for other health and sanitation assistance.

· Repair all damages in your house and premises and, upon completion, assist in the maintenance of the evacuation centers and in the rehabilitation of the disaster area.

After the typhoon

Ideas for Action:

A Technology Information Kit, November 23 - 28, 1992

Volcanic eruption preparedness

Active volcanoes are being monitored for possible activity and, there for, major eruptions can be predicted. Volcanic blast can destroy structures and the surrounding environment. It could cause fires, including forest fires. Lava and lahar flows as a result of volcanic eruption can bury buildings and crops and render land unusable.

Destruction of houses, buildings and trees as a result of ashfalls has been documented during the Mt. Pinatubo eruption. Airborne ash can affect aircraft when ingested by the engines. Earthquakes are expected during the explosion. Heavy rainfall could worsen the situation and victimize residents far and near.

Volcanic eruption

Precautionary measures before the eruption

· Assist in community efforts such as constructing diversion ditches and placing sand bag baffles in possible lava or lahar pathways.

· Clear all debris and other flammable materials in the premises and nearby areas. The explosion carrying burning stones and the lava flow could trigger fire in your vicinity. Try to store water in containers for fire-fighting purposes.

· If possible, temporarily dismantle the storm water gutter in your roofs to allow the free flow of ash from the eruption. Reinforce the weak parts of your house.

Precautionary measures before the eruption (1)

· Plan your escape route in case there would be need to evacuate your family. If you have a motor vehicle, (land vehicle or banca), fill it with gas and have it conditioned to be used in these eventualities. Formulate several family evacuation plans. Include livestock safety in your plan. Synchronize your activities with the community disaster preparedness plan.

· Look out for other possible hazards that may happen. Earthquake, a component of volcanic eruption, may trigger landslides. Flooding could result from heavy rains.

· Stock enough non-perishable food and potable water for the family, good for one week, in the event that your community becomes isolated due to the disaster. Cooking fuel, emergency light, over-the-counter medicines, first-aid kit, water disinfectants, field tent, personal protective equipment (gas mask, hardhat, raincoat, umbrella, boots, lime, vermin, disinfectants and repellents, flashlights and extra batteries, whistle, life jackets, etc.) should be made part of your emergency paraphernalia.

· Underwater volcanic eruption may result to a tsunami or giant tidal wave. Observe the shoreline. Tsunamis are preceded by marked recession of normal water level prior to arrival of the wave, that is a massive outgoing tide followed by the incoming wave. In this event, climb to the highest hill or place. A tsunami wave can reach as high as 30 meters.

· Remove breakable materials in high places such as light bulbs, chandelier, wall and ceiling decorations, contents of shelves and cabinets and place them on the floor. The earth movement may break them and hurt the house occupants.

· Listen to the radio's latest PHILVOCS alerts on the volcanic eruption. Monitor lahar alert level and visually evaluate the volcano's activity. Timely and accurate evacuation decisions would save the lives of your family.

· Shut off the electric main switch of your house before you evacuate elsewhere. This will prevent fires due to short circuit of the lines.

· Proceed to the nearest evacuation center and remain there until the volcano has calmed down.

Precautionary measures before the eruption (2)

During the eruption

· If you are caught on the road or become stranded, do not panic. Execute the other evacuation plan that your family has decided.

· Do not go sightseeing. Stay inside the house/building/evacuation center. Your presence outside may-hamper the flow of evacuation traffic or you may get hurt by the effects of the explosion or earthquake.

· Take cover under a table similar strong structure and stay-away from glass windows and appliances.

· If you are not with your family during the eruption, do not leave your location to be with them. Wait until it is safe.

· Do not try to clean or shovel the ashfall during the eruptions. Ash may hamper your visibility or quakes may throw you down or lightning may strike you. Damaged properties could be repaired but not the lives lost.

· Wear gas mask or cover your face with clean wet towel or cloth to prevent ash from irritating the eyes and entering the respiratory tract.

· If the evacuation center is further threatened by the effects of the eruption, re-evacuate in accordance with the local disaster preparedness plan.

During the eruption

After the eruption

· Listen to the latest radio updates and the alert signals. Listen to relevant advice from authorities. Stay in the house/building/evacuation center until the volcanic eruption and after shocks have subsided.

· Survey with caution the damage from the volcanic impact with caution. Look out for road erosions, landslides, flooded areas, fallen power lines and trees, weakened structures, molten lava deposits, lahar mud flow movements. Children should not roam the damaged area. Temporarily confine them to the house/evacuation center. Residual effects of the explosion could still be a threat to lives and properties.

· Check sanitation facilities (water supply system, toilet, waste water drainage, dump site). Due to the earth's movement, all water sources are declared unsafe for drinking. Institute emergency treatment of drinking water (boiling, chlorination, etc.) Construct temporary pit latrines. Cover the human waste with lime or ash or earth after every defecation. Do the same to your garbage pit. Drain stagnant water in the vicinity to prevent insect infestation.

· Cook food thoroughly and always observe personal hygiene. Avoid overcrowding in the sleeping area. Request assistance from the health authorities for other health and sanitation services that you would need.

· Only the adult members of the family should be allowed to go home to inspect the house condition. The rest of the family should only return when it is safe. Otherwise, stay in the evacuation center.

· Be an active member in the maintenance of a peaceful and sanitary condition of the camp site. Assist in the clearing of damaged facilities and in the rehabilitation of the disaster area.

Ideas for Action:

A Technology Information Kit, November 23-28, 1992