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TURNING POINT: Scary and Ironic

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NAAWAN, Misamis Oriental (MindaNews / 01 May) — Now and then, Metro Manila suffers from the scarcity of drinking water. But not very long from now, not just the National Capital Region area but a number of coastal urban centers in the country will find themselves in a scary and ironic situation where water is all around them and yet suffer from thirst because there’s hardly anything to drink.

Climate change either sinks a place in flood or dries its rivers, dams and aquifers, depriving the populace, thus, of potable water.

In a matter of time, our coastal areas will join the plight of the Solomon Islands and the island Republic of Kiribati in the Pacific Ocean that are fast disappearing resulting from the rising level of seawater.

For instance, Dr. Fernando Siringan of the UP Marine Science Institute said that parts of the Camanava area consisting of Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas and Valenzuela City sank by between 2.7 to 9.1 centimeters from 1991 to 2002 resulting from rising seawater.

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Intensified ground water withdrawal in Metro Manila are factors, too, in their sinking.

If the melting of the glaciers in the northern hemisphere continues, many coastal cities will submerge. What makes it scary is that it is a slow process and people will watch themselves slowly drowning.

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Evacuation is the only solution. Fortunately, the slow occurring disaster gives government planners enough elbow room to prepare and develop evacuation sites, that is, to build shelters, create job and livelihood opportunities, and put in place vital social services.

The challenge is gargantuan that requires so much resources. Rather than preparing for war, like our adventure with the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement and the Balikatan show of force, our government alliances should be employed in battling the global disaster of climate change.

The survival of humanity is at stake. Nations, especially the developed ones, which are the primary emitters of carbon and other heating and toxic gas in the atmosphere, should join forces to save the planet from climate change, not to cut each other’s throat in parochial interest and pride.

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews.

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William R. Adan, Ph.D., is retired professor and former chancellor of Mindanao State University at Naawan, Misamis Oriental)

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