Sunday, April 14, 2024

The Boiling Point

by Nina Isabelle Alolod | May 4, 2023

Photo courtesy of Joel Casungcad

“Avoid the heat, prevent cheating.” 

Joel Casungcad, teacher from Lutucan Integration National High School in Sariaya, a municipality in Quezon Province, went viral after posting a photo of his students who took their exams outdoors to escape the heat. In an article by Raul Dancel where he reports the story behind Casungcad’s picture, he cites other instances of how the heat waves are currently affecting the country. 

In April, around 150 students in southern Manila suffered heat stroke after their school’s power was out; Likewise, more than 100 students last March were taken to a hospital after they experienced heat exhaustion following a fire drill that had them standing under the sun in mid-afternoon.

These situations are no surprise given the recent rise in temperatures among Southeast Asian countries. Additionally, there is now an 80 percent chance for the Philippines to transition to El Niño, a seasonal warming of the Pacific Ocean that disturbs normal weather patterns, around July to September. Apart from a decrease of rainfall, this pattern has a possibility to bring dry spells and droughts in some areas of the country. 

Moreover, social welfare organization Alalay sa Kaunlaran (ASKI) found that El Niño also had a considerable effect on the Philippine economy. It was mentioned that the weather phenomenon was the cause for diminished income, food shortages, and difficulty in raising standards of living. 

Apart from agricultural repercussions, the high temperature and rapid evaporation of surface water during El Niño also makes for uninhabitable conditions for marine fishes. Dry fish ponds, shorter production cycles, stunted fish growth and fish mortalities from stress are just some of the examples in light of such an event.

Thus, this calls for a period of water conversation. National Water Resources Board (NWRB) executive director Sevillo David Jr. states that, “With or without El Niño, we need to conserve water every day as the water supply is not unlimited. Our water requirement also increases because of population development.”

Though the government already has contingency plans for El Niño, it is still important to remain vigilant as an individual. For starters, one can conserve their water supply directly from their home as well as to protect it from contamination. 

Nevertheless, making sure to stay hydrated still takes priority given how the heat can easily exhaust the body. Wearing light clothing and avoiding any taxing physical activities can also aid in avoiding the consequences of high temperatures. Above all, it’s necessary to note that, due to climate change, the  El Niño the country will experience soon might become worse. It won’t do to be complacent in such a time lest one finds themselves at the boiling point of summer.

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