Hunger Games: Science-based policy advocacy for Laguna Lake conservation through ASEAN S&T Fellowship

Author(s): Pierangeli Vital
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Institution or organization of origin: University of the Philippines Diliman
Country: Philippines


Laguna Lake is the largest lake in the Philippines and one of the major sites of aquaculture in the country, being one of the major sources of freshwater fishes. However, the lake is continuously being threatened by the growing population and harmful practices in its vicinity. Based on the 2013 Ecosystem Health Report Card of Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA), Laguna Lake scored C- on water quality and F in fisheries. This indicates that the lake, although it passed the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (or DENR) guidelines in water quality, it fared poorly because of high population, introduction of invasive species, and industrialization of its vicinity and tributaries. The low scores caused the lake to be highly eutrophic, causing a negative impact on the main source of livelihood. In the last 10 years, there has been no news on the outbreak of diseases caused by microorganisms on the fishes being cultured in the lake, recent fish deaths, as reported, were caused by the decreasing oxygen levels in the water due to change in weather. However, there is still a possibility of an eventual disease outbreak caused by microorganisms, as the effluents being released into the lake may promote growth. In this regard, policy recommendations were proposed in coordination with LLDA, DENR, private sector, and other related agencies, for improving and regulating the quality of Laguna Lake through the ASEAN S&T Fellowship supported by the ASEAN Foundation, USAID, and Department of Science and Technology (as host ministry).

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