600 volunteers, 2.5 tons From “Abatan clean-up”

ABATAN VILLAGE CENTER, CORTES, February 22 (PIA)—Over 600 volunteers from about 40 groups: trooped to the river sides of Abatan and Bacong rivers in Cortes, Maribojoc and Balilihan Friday, February 22, with one common goal: lend their hands to help clean up the river and improve its water quality.
Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Charlie E. Fabre said he has seen the potential source of pollutants in the river and would meet river stakeholders to discuss on mitigating measures and possible adoption of river sections that have been affected by pollution.
PENRO Fabre, along with Abatan River Community Development Management Council consultant Emilia Roslinda, Participatory Research Organization of Communities and Education towards Struggle for Self Reliance (PROCESS) Bohol Executive Director Aurelio Salgados Jr., Bohol Environment Management Office (BEMO) Coastal Resource Management Coordinator Maria Villa Inguito-Pelindingue, private corporation representatives and local media, on a flatboat, ventured into the headwaters of Bacong River to inspect the tributary to the Abatan.
Abatan River has been among the three rivers which the regional DENR committee identified for the Recognizing Individuals and Institutions towards Vibrant and Enhanced Rivers (RIVERS) for Life Awards in 2019.
Aside from Abatan River, also identified in Bohol are Wahig River in Inabanga and Manaba River in Garcia-Hernandez.
The awards would be granted to the region’s rivers which have been categorized as class C, one which the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) means a river which has a coliform level of lesser than 100 most probable number, but may be unsafe for swimming.
The awards, which would be granted to the region’s most improved water quality among ten rivers identified, would also automatically hoist the river to the national finals, explains PENRO Fabre during the recent Kapihansa PIA in Tagbilaran.
The goal, Fabre said, would be to upgrade the Abatan River water quality in six months.
And to do such huge task, the DENR PENRO has tapped private sectors especially those who have contributed in one way or another to the pollution, and those which have benefitted from the river.
Cortes Mayor Lynn Ivenn Lim, in his pre-clean-up program message urged everyone to spread out the word because when people do not know that their actions have contributed to the pollution, they would keep on doing the same thing.
Until we could stop people from indiscriminately throwing small plastics, then they would continue to do so and Abatan would be dirty still, the mayor said.
Apart from improving the water quality of the river, volunteers were also on to non-biodegradable trash along the river systems.
PROCESS and ARDMC lent kayaks and mobilized its tourism flatboats (bandung) for to volunteers use for the clean up.
The PENRO, which has been spearheading the Abatan River Clean up divided the 12 kilometer stretch of river to Kawasan Falls into five stations: Bacong Bridge to Lilo-an, Lilo-an to Abatan Bridge, Abatan Bridge to CabawanMaribojoc, Loreto Hanging Bridge to Camayaan Hanging Bridge and Camayaan Bridge to Kawasan Falls and its vicinities.
Clean-up volunteers include Barangay Poblacion, Salvador, Philippine National Police, Tourist Police, Maribojoc Police, Alpha Phi Upsilon, Bohol Beach Club, Department of Interior and Local Government, Toyota Motors, Alturas Group of Companies, Polbos Lumber, Bohol Institute of Technology-International College.
Coca-cola, Petron, Bohol Water Utilities Incorporated, JCI Boholana Kisses, Bohol Quality Corporation, Philippine Maritime Group, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, DENR, Philippine Information Agency, Bohol Provincial Police Office, Community Equity Ventures, DPWH, AFP, DEPED, BEMO, Unitop, MLhuillier, BISU Balilihan, PNP Balilihan, LGU Balilihan, Daplin Poultry, Barangay Candasig, PROCESS, BISU Main, Cortes PNP and MLGU Cortes.
Initial data for the clean-up showed that some 2.5 tons of trash were collected, all of which were collected by garbage trucks and ferried to Albur Sanitary Landfill. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)

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