On December3rd, I wrote a short blog on land use planning and how its absence could lead to disasters. I was a bit lazy at that time so I did not write the details of my disappointment and frustration that an onslaught of heavy rains will definitely lead to disaster in that area of Northern Mindanao. My trip in November was getting around the Province of Bukidnon, passing through to Cagayan de Oro City and back to the other side of Bukidnon in the foothills of Mount Kitanglad.
Passing through that route, I did feel uneasy of how things were in terms of how land was used , people really have a risk of getting washed off in case of a heavy dowpour of rain. Our pictures in Kitanglad and most of the Bukidnon Highlands were quite disappointing since people have encroached the tops of the highlands and cleared most of the original vegetation. Indeed a disaster is waiting to happen.
Two weeks later, what I have fear will happen indeed happened. Cagayan de Oro, parts of Bukidnon is still in the disaster recovery efforts and clean up will follow soon.
BEIJING (AFP) – Millions of Chinese went online on Tuesday to vent their anger over the thick smog that has blanketed Beijing in recent days, raising health fears and causing hundreds of flights to be cancelled.
Sales of face masks were reported to have surged as residents of China’s heavily polluted capital sought to protect themselves from the air, which US embassy figures ranked ‘very unhealthy’.
Beijing’s main airport cancelled hundreds of flight due to the poor visibility on Sunday and Monday, angering passengers at the world’s second-busiest airport. Visibility had improved by Tuesday, but 80 domestic and 10 international flights had been cancelled by midday due to light snow.
Users of Sina’s weibo – one of China’s hugely popular microblogging sites – expressed frustration at the delays to their journeys, with one saying it had taken him 24 hours to travel to Beijing from the southern city of Shenzhen.
My masters thesis is about land use.
Land use doesn’t seem to be such a great topic the first time you hear it, land use is about using the land, simple as that if you hear it. I never really appreciated my undegraduate course on Land Economics, most of my time was focused on my professor’s vintage shirts he had preserved from the 50s. 60s.70s. Things like that do distract students.
In my recent trip to Mindanao, it seems most of the mountain tops is bald due to unregulated land use or the lack of a proper land use regulation. There are times when policymakers do not realize the value of ecosystem dynamics and its contribution to sustaining the economy but with the rapid increase in population particularly in the Philippines, we are giving up valuable ecosystem benefits for short term and minimal improvements in the general welfare of people. With this trade-off, we must always be ready that when disaster strikes whether drastically or slowly, we must be ready to give up our lives for what we have minimally gained.
- Picture courtesy of FAO.org