When will we ever learn?
Rain and more rain! Floods! Disaster! Death. When will we learn? Talk, discussions, promises. When are we really going to address the problems?
Yes, there is climate change. Weather patterns have changed worldwide, but we could have done something to prevent this years ago. But we did nothing. Houses on steep hillsides and watershed areas where they should not be, unstable, soft coastal lands, filled-in, coastal vegetation and mangroves totally removed; nothing to hold rushing waters.
This disaster has happened before and will happen again. We know the answers and have the solutions.
What are we doing about proper land use planning and "developments" that have no permission, but are proceeding anyway?
When are we going to stop deforestation on our steep hillsides and catchment areas? When are we going to stop filling in our important wetlands and coastal areas; when are we going to clean up our upriver waterways and streams that are filled with bottles and all kinds of garbage? When are we going to pass an acceptable Beverage Container bill? When are we going to seriously promote a culture, from Government departments to the man in the street, of conservation and prevention in all aspects of management, including flood risks?
When are we going to develop co-operation and unified action among and between departments responsible for our living resources — "water", "forestry", "agriculture", "housing", and "fisheries", "wildlife, commercial and industrial projects?
When are we going to stop quick fix, short-term planning and include medium and long-term plans and projects?
We have fairly good laws, but they have to be enforced.
The cycle turns. The rains will end. Dry season will return, perhaps, with a vengeance. With the change in climate, we may face blistering, dry, hot, parched conditions like what is happening in the US. Then, we will desperately need water, the same water that flooded us then rushed out to sea a few months before, water that first of all would have been partially absorbed by trees and forests. One answer among many is that we can store rain/floodwater in additional man-made dams and reservoirs. Put some money into such a project.
We seem to fail to understand the links and interactions between climate change, water and our actions or reactions. There will be both greater rainfall and less rainfall, greater floods and severe droughts. We cannot completely change things now, but we can mitigate them.
The depth and degree of the impact and downstream effects depend on human activities. On us.
Molly R Gaskin