Studies Find Household Waste Pollutes Laguna Lake Most

Recent studies find that household waste contribute to majority of the pollution in the Laguna Lake.

Presidential Adviser for Environmental Protection and Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) General Manager Sec. Neric O. Acosta presented key findings of the studies in a media briefing conducted at the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) office in Pasig City on October 12.

In studies conducted on the ecosystem wealth of the Laguna de Bay Region (LdBR) as part of the Philippine Wealth Accounting for the Valuation of Ecosystem Services (PhilWAVES), it was determined that 81% of pollution that flows into the Lake is from domestic waste. This is just one finding among all the other ecosystem services that were determined and quantified through scientific studies.

Other ecosystem services—the benefits that people obtain from the ecosystem—which were included in the PhilWAVES for LdBR were: land conversion, flood mitigation and fish production.
Major land cover change in the Laguna de Bay Basin occurred from 2003-2010. Closed forests decreased by 35% while built-up areas increased by 116%. Rapid urbanization and industrialization are most evident in the northwest, west and southern portions of the Lake.

Flood risks in the lake zone are evident because of the increasing population in the lakeshore. Soil erosion from subwatersheds which has made the Lake more shallow making neighboring areas prone to flooding.

For now the Lake can sustain fisheries, but is threatened by contamination from pollution. Invasive species are also a threat for the negative effect on biodiversity and indigenous species, impacting the economic operations of fisheries. Fish production is the most dominant use of the Laguna Lake. It produces about 80,000 to 90,000 metric tons of fish in a year. An estimated 13,000 fishermen depend on the lake for their livelihood.

The Laguna Lake was chosen as one of the pilot sites for ecosystem accounting because it is the largest inland body of water in the Philippines and the third largest in Southeast Asia. Around 100 rivers and and streams drain into the lake with the largest contribution of inflow coming from the Pagsanjan River. The Laguna Lake Region is a multiple-use resource that provides food, transportation, energy and shelter to the provinces of Rizal and Laguna; selected towns in Cavite and Batangas, and Quezon; and the cities of Muntinlupa, Taguig, Pasig, Marikina, Quezon, Caloocan, Pasay and Manila.

The LLDA with World Bank, NEDA and Philippine Statistics Authority worked together through WAVES. WAVES is a global partnership that aims to account for the natural capital and services provided by ecosystems to know the full value of these resources for better planning.

Ecosystems accounts developed in this study will help authorities such as the LLDA, and policy makers prevent further degradation of the Laguna Lake through informed policies that will strengthen water resource management, improve water quality and align development plans or planning laws.


Contact Person:

Maureen S. Tolentino, PRO-II
LLDA – Public Information Unit