Department of Environment and Natural Resources readies gear for ‘Battle for the Rivers, Esteros’

March 29, 2019
Roy Cimatu

SIMULTANEOUS cleanup of esteros and rivers which are contributories to the sad state of Manila Bay will soon start  to complement the rehabilitation of the bay.

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu said after the successful launch of the “Battle for Manila Bay” last January, they will now start the “Battle for the Rivers and Esteros,” with the simultaneous cleanup activities tomorrow.

Cimatu explained that the massive cleanup of Manila Bay tributaries aims to involve communities and empower them in protecting their own waterways.

“We at the DENR are doing this to mobilize community participation through their barangay executives in the cleanup, rehabilitation, education and protection activities in the effort to rehabilitate the Manila Bay,” Cimatu said.

Cimatu recently led DENR officials in holding a dialogue with leaders of over 200 barangays in Metro Manila in relation to the important role they play in the rehabilitation, dubbed as “Battle for Manila Bay.”

The Manila Bay rehabilitation will be done in three phases: cleanup and water quality improvement; relocation and rehabilitation; and education, protection and sustainment.

Cimatu said the first phase involves the cleanup of esteros and waterways, reduction of fecal coliform level and other discharges from establishments, implementation of solid waste management, and planning for the relocation of informal settlers.

“The first activity will involve the regular conduct of cleanup on garbage and debris, removal of silt by dredging, and introduction of bioremediation, infrastructure improvement and other engineering interventions, such as trash traps and silt curtains,” Cimatu said.

Bioremediation refers to the use of naturally occurring microorganisms or other forms of life to consume and break down environmental pollutants in order to clean up a polluted site. The microorganisms can also be deliberately introduced in the site.

Cimatu added that there will also be an intensified promotion of the 3Rs of ecological solid waste management, namely: reduce, reuse and recycle; provision of adequate receptacles for waste segregation; and conduct of information, education and communication activities.

Last Jan. 27, the DENR launched the three-phase “Battle for Manila Bay” where over 10,000 people joined a massive cleanup activity on Roxas Boulevard in Manila and other parts of the Manila Bay region.