‘River clean-up’ goal: change Water quality after 6 months

To have substantial improvements in the rivers’ water quality by June 2019: this fairly sums up the mission the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and its horde of community volunteers in embarking on the simultaneous River Clean-Up this Friday, February 22.
And according to the new Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer (PENRO) Charlie Fabre, the task may not be that tough a challenge for Bohol than in other Central Visayan provinces.
Fabre, who had a long stint as PENRO of Negros Oriental and an even longer stint as Regional Director for Caraga, said he has seen all the 10 rivers which DENR 7 identified for the February 22 simultaneous clean-up, and the three Bohol rivers are better than the 7 others in the region.
While the DENR monitored higher coliform levels at the lower banks of these Bohol rivers, its headwaters are still mostly category A, meaning, these can be sources of drinking water, or at least safe for swimming.
Should Bohol succeed in elevating the water quality of its identified rivers, then the clean-up picks another location based on the current local inventory and the need to get these rivers into shape again, according to Fabre.
It may be recalled that after the DENR led governments and the civil society in successfully cleaning up Manila Bay in what media would call as Battle of Manila Bay, DENR secretary also looked at the implementation of the Clean Waters Act of 2004 or the Republic Act 9275.
The law basically applies to water quality management in the country’s body of water by control of pollution from land based sources.
Here, the DENR spearheads and institutionalizes activities that would affect the water quality of a certain body of water.
Speaking at the Kapihan sa PIA, PENRO Fabre, citing the DENR appeal for greater public participation in the Simultaneous River Clean-Up set this February 22, admitted that the community mobilization towards cleaner rivers is the kick off activity of the river rehabilitation program in Central Visayas.
“We have witnessed in the Manila Bay Clean-up how public participation made a lot of difference. In Central Visayas the state of our rivers is not a hopeless case, let us come together and prove that we can also make it happen,” said DENR 7 Regional Executive Director Gilbert C. Gonzales as cited by DENR 7 social media accounts.
DENR 7 has organized a simultaneous river clean-up in ten (10) identified priority rivers in the region, these are the 20 kilometer Batuanon River that empties into Mandaue City, Bulacao River which empties into the Cebu South Road properties, and Luyang River from its headwaters of Cantumog to Barangay Luyang in Carmen, all in Cebu.
In Negros Oriental, the DENR also identified Banica River from spills of Casaroro Falls in Valencia and which empties to Dumaguete City, the Panamang-an River from Cabanlutan to the shorelines of Bais City and the Sicopong River which runs from Tanjay to Santa Catalina.
In Bohol, identified rivers for the simultaneous river clean-up are Wahig River in the Inabanga basin, Abatan River from Kawasan Balilihan Section to Cortes and Manaba River which empties into Bohol sea in Garcia Hernandez.
For Siquijor, the environment agency has identified Señora River from Cambugahay to Lazi.
These rivers, according to Fabre have been under category C: those which have below 100 most probable number coliform levels from animals and human wastes.
Bohol Rivers are crucial especially Abatan which is being used for eco-tourism activities, Fabre asserted.
This is not just a one shot deal. The clean up would be made sustainable, thus the kick-off, he added.
While several regions have already started their river clean ups, three of the DENR offices in Bohol coordinate with groups and individuals volunteering for the river clean up, according to Marcia Ugay of the DENR.
CENRO Talibon coordinates for the clean-up activities in Inabanga’s Wahig, CENTO Tagbilaran picks the coordination for Manaba River while PENRO Tagbilaran takes care of Abatan River.
Any individual or groups joining the volunteer work on Friday can call PENRO Bohol at (038) 416 0151. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)

Conduct of the clean-up activities would be sustained for the next months as the DENR monitors the water quality to attain the desired clean-up goals, said PENRO Charlie Fabre at Kapihan sa PIA. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)

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