Of the three Bohol rivers which the communities have jointly cleaned up in efforts to improve its water quality, the singular honor to represent Bohol as nominee to the regional and the national awards for the best improved rivers goes to Garcia Hernandez’s Manaba River.
A Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) team picked Manaba River after the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office in Tagbilaran and the local community succeeded in upgrading the river’s water quality; a goal for the awards.
DENR Bohol Environment Management Bureau Provincial Environment Management Unit’s Richard Abella shared this during the recent Kapihan sa PIA, which was timed for the opening of the Month for the Environment in June.
Manaba is among the three rivers which the local DENR picked for community based clean-ups and rehabilitation for them to qualify in the 2019 awards.
Along with Manaba River, is Loboc River where the famous Rivercruises and floating restaurants are plying, and Abatan River where its mouth empties in Cortes, which is also used for the Abatan Community Life River Experiences.
Early this year, President Rodrigo Duterte with the people of Manila, embarked on a rather ambitious cleaning-up and rehabilitation of the Manila Bay, which it successfully started with a massive clean-up.
Challenged by the act, the DENR through Secretary Roy Cimatu also engaged all provinces and its local DENR offices to adopt rivers in their area of responsibility, for the clean-up and rehabilitation works.
According to PENRO Bohol Charlie Fabre, they chose rivers in Bohol based on their water quality: the three have something in common at that time.
All the rivers have water qualities categorized under class C: which is fishery water for the propagation and growth of fish and other aquatic resources, and can healthily support recreational water like boating, surfing and for industrial use after treatment, based on DENR AO 30, series of 1990.
While the water from the river can be good for agriculture, irrigation and livestock use, class C waters are not ideal for full contact with humans due to the presence of minimal traces of coliform from human and animal waste.
The DENR classification in fact stirred a lot of Boholanos who know that both Loboc and Abatan Rivers are supporting tourism activities and where paddling activities are done.
The environment authorities on the other hand argued that the more the rivers need to be rehabilitated to improve its water quality.
The intention is to enhance the water quality so that the river can be safer for human recreational activities like swimming and bathing, PENR Fabre shared at a radio forum.
As the DENR launched the simultaneous river clean up activities, it also officially disseminated the information about the community-based rehabilitation of the country’s river by Recognizing Individuals and Institutions towards Vibrant and Enhanced Rivers (RIVERS) for Life in 2019.
Set for six months, a team would assess the RIVERS and pick the best rehabilitated river systems, this would be the official nominee of the province to the regional and national awards.
Six months later, Manaba improved its water quality to be categorized as Class B, which allows for contact recreation such as bathing, swimming, skin diving, particularly those designated for tourism purposes, according to Abella. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)