CLEAN-UPS, education and information campaigns, local legislative action, and researches are slated this year to keep the Balili River cleaner than ever.

The plan was discussed during the Balili river technical working group of the Water Quality Management (WQMA) meeting recently.

A research proposal on phytoremediation was also presented and critiqued before implementation.

Patterned after observed capacity of plants with aesthetic value yet indigenous grasses and reed plants to absorb and maintain soil and water cleanliness, the experiment spearheaded by the Watershed and Water Resource Research Center (WWRRC) lasts for six months in identified places in Baguio and Balili, La Trinidad.

The research is part of a program for the Cordillera region, Pangasinan, Isabela, and Zambales.

According to Environmental Management Board, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) officer Wilhelmina Lagunilla, similar feasible researches are needed, and would be funded.

A visit to a technological processing plant in Zambales is also planned for program duplication. Water sampling goes on to ascertain levels of pollution in Balili River tributaries.

A River Patrol training will also be launched later this month, with members from Sablan, Baguio and La Trinidad.

The proposed Sewage Treatment Plant for the Baguio City Market and slaughter house is expected for implementation, said Lagunilla, in behalf of DENR officer-in-charge Regional Director Reynaldo Digamo.

Inventories of encroached buildings along the riversides with the Department of Public Works and Highways are also requested.

Flora and fauna within the river, with goals for conservation and propagation will be undertaken, the group agreed.

According to Enginer Moises Lozano of the Water, Wastewater Ambience Management Division of the City Environment and Parks Management Office (Cepmo) indiscriminate dumping and discharge of solids, liquid and hazardous wastes are monitored, with warning to perpetrators.

Cepmo head Cordella Lacsamana also urged the local government units of Sablan and La Trinidad to strictly implement measures in their areas.

Level of awareness was also discussed through information and education campaign, which is highly encouraged through the academe or on barangay assemblies.

Penalties and reward schemes for violators and responsible citizens, respectively, are seen as effective measure to stop unabated throwing of garbage and other dumps in the river.

The WQMA TWG meets regularly for proper implementation of the clean Balili programs. (PR)