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Poison juices/Katas pantodas (PJI editorial 27 April 2005)

UNDUE strain on renewable resources is something to weep about. Take the underground water reservoirs—the so-called aquifers-- in which subdivision developers drill down into to pump out fit-to-drink water.

Chew this over and hold to your breakfast. Each household uses up 2-3 cubic meters of freshwater a day while it takes a tree one year to replenish a cubic meter of rainwater back into the aquifer. Most real estate developers and subdivision residents don’t bother with such tough equations as striking a balance between growing demand and sustained capacity of aquifers to provide freshwater.

In all likelihood, the once-untapped contents of a subdivision’s underground water reservoirs are used up in just a few years. Even so, Nature detests operating in a vacuum and will find a way to keep the reservoirs filled in with anything handy, anything liquid and juicy that will seep down through layers of soil and rock.

Residents of shoreline areas are not at all surprised pumping out brackish or salt-tasting water from their deep-wells. Once freshwater in coastal aquifers are used up, saltwater oozes in. The process is irreversible.

Further inland, the ubiquitous septic tank in every subdivision household ought to provide ample fluids to grow in zillions of microorganisms—from anaerobic types that release methane and similar gases fit to use as fuel to such deadly types as Clostridium botulinum and E. coli.

Yeah: compressed natural gas (CNG) that can run car engines or provide a dirt-cheap alternative to liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) can be culled off a pozo negro.

C. botulinum and E. coli hogged the day’s headlines. Over 130 people were downed the other day by the former in Pangasinan while a lawmaker’s comely daughter fell dead to the latter.

In all likelihood it’s the ubiquitous pozo negro that’s been giving fluid replenishment to sapped-dry underground water sources. Blame undue population strain on a renewable resource. Blame shoddy environmental planning. Blame ignorance. Blame usual suspects.

In the next few weeks, the rich stew of sludge and sewage that seep their way into coastal waters will touch off a population explosion of sorts in saltwater-dwelling algae. The sea turns red. So there’ll be red tide. A few deaths here and there from paralytic shellfish poisoning ought to make it to the news.

We can toss the blame on having too much of Malabanan juice.

Katas na pantodas (*Filipino translation)

TODO piga ang natatamasa ng ating mga likas na yaman. Halimbawa ang mga bukal ng tubig sa kailaliman ng lupa—ito ‘yung tinatawag na aquifer – na kakalkalin, sasalpakan ng tubong deepwell ng real estate developers para mapagkunan ng tubig.

Pag-isipan ‘to kahit sisikad ang sikmura. Lalaspag ng 2-3 cubic meter ng tubig ang isang pamilya sa isang araw samantalang aabot santaon ang isang puno para maipanumbalik sa aquifer ang 1 cubic meter ng tubig. Hindi na nasisipat ang ganitong pagtimbang ng mga bagay-bagay para magparehas ang pangangailangan sa tubig at ang kakayahan ng lupa na magtustos ng tubig.

Madaling maunawa na sa loob lang ng ilang taon, tiyak na said na ang imbak na tubig na hinuhugot sa kailaliman ng lupa. Pero kikilos at kikilos ang Kalikasan para punuan ang kawalan ng kahit na ano, kahit na anumang likido o katas na padadaanin sa salaang lupa at batuhan.

Sa mga lunan na kalapit ng tabing-dagat, hindi na magtataka kung tabsing o alat na ang tubig na inilalabas ng kani-kanilang poso. Kapag nasaid ang tabang na tubig na imbak ng coastal aquifer, tiyak na aagas doon ang tubig-alat. Hindi ito mapipigil.

Sa mga lugar na malayo sa tubig-alat, ang poso negro ay nagtataglay ng kakayahan para magpalago ng sandamakmak na mikroorganismo—mula sa uring anaerobic (hindi kailangan ng hangin para huminga) na lumilikha ng methane at iba pang gas na magagamit na panggatong, pati na ang mga mapanganib na uri na gaya ng Clostridium botulinum at E. coli.

Magagamit ang compressed natural gas (CNG) mula pozo negro bilang gatong sa makina ng sasakyan, ubrang pamalit din sa liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).

Naging tampok sa balita kamakailan ang C. botulinum at E. coli. Mahigit 130 katao ang pinabagsak ng una sa Pangasinan samantalang isang marilag na anak ng isang mambabatas ang kinitil ng huli.

Malamang na katas mula pozo negro ang tumatagaktak at sumasalin sa mga tubig-imbakang aquifer. Sisihin ang sobrang siba ng populasyon sa tubig. Sisihin ang palpak na plano o environmental planning. Sisihin ang kapos na kaalaman. Sisihin ang mga dati nang suspek.

Sa mga susunod pang linggo, ang tagas ng mga pantodas na katas ay magpapalago sa samut-saring mikrobyo sa bahaging tubig ng aplaya. Magkukulay pula ang dagat. Red tide ang tawag. May ilang masasawi sa paralytic shellfish poisoning—tiyak na magiging laman ng balita.

Sige na nga, sisihin ang sobrang katas na pantodas sa ating mga kabahayan.


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