RP’s ‘dirty 30’ river can still be revived

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    MALOLOS CITY—Public and private organizations joined hands to revived the Marilao-Meycauayan-Obando River System (MMORS) which was included among the 30 dirtiest places in the world in 2007.

    This came as Globe telecommunications launched the Green Line text facility project here yesterday which drew hundreds of participants, highlighted by a signing of a memorandum of agreement (MOA).

    The project was in support to the Water Quality Management Area (WQMA) established in early 2007 that aimed to rehabilitate the MMORS.

    “There is still hope for the Marilao-Meycauayan-Obando River System, we only have to work together,” said Undersecretary Demetrio Ignacio of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

    Ignacio spoke in behalf of Environment Secretary Ramon Paje who failed to come due to other meetings.

    Ignacio said that pollution on the MMORS did not come overnight saying the 55-kilometer MMORS stretch is home to industries the contributed to its present state.

    It includes tanneries, jewelry making and pyrotechnics industries, along with a company that recycles used batteries, and household wastes.

    “Pollution on the MMORS is a product of long negligence and we hope to revive it,” he said noting that revival of the river system will also take years.

    He added that “we might not revive it in this generation, but we can stop pollution in the next few years.”

    This was affirmed by Director Marlo Mendoza of the Forest Management Bureau (FMB) who used to work with the Blacksmith Institute which released the “Dirty 30” report in October 2007.

    Mendoza said that the MMORS concern is not just about solid wastes and effluents from households along its banks.

    He stressed that years of pollution from industries left heavy metals like mercury, chromium, lead and others on the riverbed.

    Mendoza said that heavy metals on the river bed must be removed. However, he added that it requires special landfill for disposal.

    “We are still looking for a special landfill where we can dispose contaminated silt,” he said.
    For his part, Governor Wilhelmino Alvarado expressed hope that the MMORS will be revived soon noting that thousands of Bulakenyos rely on it.

    He said that pollution on MMORS has affected the fishponds alongside the river system and on the coast of Bulacan.

    Alvarado said that Obando town is one of the most affected as it never hosts a single factory but pollution is crippling its once vibrant fishpond industry.

    “We welcome the Green Line initiative and we hope it will contribute in addressing pollution,” he said.

    The Green Line project was spearheaded by Globe Telecommunications, the DENR, Sony-Ericsson, Blacksmith Institute, and the Provincial government of Bulacan.

    It is also supported by local business community, industries and local government units like the Cities of Meycauayan, San Jose Del Monte, Valenzuela, and Caloocan, and the towns of Marilao, Bocaue, and Sta. Maria.

    Leaders from the said companies and local government units has signed a MOA after the launch, while Globe and Sony-Ericsson handed communication equipment to members of different quick response teams from the said local government units.

    As this developed, Yolanda Crisanto, head of the Globe Corporate Communications denied allegations that they are just using Bulacan and the MMORS as part of their marketing campaign.

    “This is an advocacy, not marketing,” she said noting that it is part of their corporate social responsibility.

    Questions on Globe’s integrity stemmed from the fact that regular charges will apply on messages sent to their hotline.

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