Geneva, Switzerland – At the second day of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland on 26 October 2022, Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Renato U. Solidum Jr. bannered the Philippines’ various science, technology, and innovation (STI) initiatives on ensuring safe water and sanitation.

After stating the country’s situation on limited access to safe water, the S&T chief listed the measures that the government, especially the DOST, are taking to address these challenges. Among these initiatives are the Harmonized National R&D Agenda with emphasis on the research priorities on environmental pollution control and management on water and wastewater management.

“Several programs and projects have been funded by the Department of Science and Technology that aim to provide access to potable water; develop cleaner, safer and compact technologies for application to industrial wastewater; develop materials that detoxify harmful substances in water; and conduct wastewater remediation. On water technologies, studies and output include the development of ceramic water filters at different scales and designs. A low-cost modular-type rainwater collection system was also invented and has been distributed to various local government units,” Sec. Solidum elaborated.

The Department’s STI solutions extend to the use of frontier technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning to help curb water shortages in the east service area of Metro Manila, software that forecasts water supply system of dams and its treatment plants, and remote sensing and Geographic Information System-plugin to train AI models to extract features from satellite imagery.

In closing, Sec. Solidum called upon CSTD members and relevant stakeholders to create enabling infrastructure, framework, tools, and environment that would help everyone to move forward in achieving Sustainable Development Goal 6. (By Karen Lou S. Mabagos, DOST-ITCU-OASECIC)