(Local officials and volunteers remove garbage from a river as part of the Supreme Courtmandated Battle for Manila Bay. Contributed Photo)
CITY OF SAN FERNANDOSome 2,000 folk from Pampanga and Bulacan joined Sunday the official launch of the Supreme Court-mandated rehabilitation of the Manila Bay, dubbed as “Battle for Manila Bay,” as various channels in the two provinces are known to empty into the bay.
In Bulacan, Gov. Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado said several poultries and piggeries face closure for lack of anti-pollution facilities.
In this capital town, dozens of local officials and volunteers also spent the day filtering garbage covered by thick water lilies along the river near the Baluyut Bridge downtown.
In Barangay Sta. Filomena in Guagua, Pampang, Mayor Dante Torres led some 700 local folk from both government and private sectors in gathering garbage floating in the local river which winds through several low-lying towns before reaching Manila Bay.
A total of 30 boats were used garfor the activity, including 27 for garbage cleanup and three for planting 150 mangrove varieties.
Torres assured the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) of his local government’s “continuous support and effort to clean its rivers until such time that the coliform level in the waters are acceptable.”
“Since 2013 when I assumed the position as local chief executive, our first marching order is really coastal and waterways cleanup. Here in Guagua, every day is cleanup day. You can really see the effort of the municipality. In fact, we have our own battlecry #ilogko #irogko wawa,” he said.
“We will talk to the residents near the river and urge those whose septic tanks fl ow directly to the bodies of water to have them transferred. We also encourage them not to throw their trash in the river,” he said.
For his part, municipal environment and natural resources office head Carlito Nicdao said behavioral change and discipline are key factors to successfully win the Battle for Manila Bay.
“Through our continuous cleanup, we have already cleaned about 80-90 percent of the surface. We need to focus our efforts now in cleaning what is beyond the surface. Based on the garbage being collected by our garbage trolls, we are estimating that we have already cleaned about 50-60 percent beyond the surface,” he added.
In Barangay Tawiran in Obando, Bulacan, some 2,000 local folk joined the Battle for Manila Bay headed by Alvarado who fielded three dredging machines to cart off wastes in local rivers, as well as to deepen local channels.
Alvarado also vowed continuing rehabilitation of the Marilao-Meycauayan-Obando River System through massive dredging, as he noted that the bed of the rivers could be laden with toxic elements such as lead and mercury.
He also announced plans to shut down several poultries and piggeries in the province for lack of anti-pollution facilities.