9 continue to pollute Balili River

NINE out of the 155 structures along Balili River in La Trinidad, Benguet do not have septic tanks.

Arthur Pedro of the Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office (Menro) said illegal discharge to water especially human waste are still rampant in the river which spans Kilometer 3 to Kilometer 6.

It was also noted that two communal septic tanks, specifically in sitios Stonehill, Botiwtiw and Sadjap (StoBoSa) were destroyed.

Among the 155 structures inventoried, 52 were residential, 98 commercial and at least five ongoing building construction.

Engr. Moises Luzano of the City Environment and Parks Management Office, meanwhile, said Baguio City has more than 10,000 commercial and residential houses near the river.

Aside from human waste, discharge from piggeries and poultry shops in the area are among the top pollutants of the river.

Menro has recommended to La Trinidad Mayor Romeo Salda to serve notices to residents without septic tanks and for the destroyed septic tanks to be repaired.

With the cleanup drive serving as a band aid solution, Salda added the local government plans to create a technical working group to concentrate on programs to make Balili River clean.

At least 50 bamboo trees were planted at Banengbeng, Sablan, Benguet in lieu of the 7th Balili River Day celebration led by the local government unit of La Trinidad, Baguio City and Sablan with the Environment and Management Bureau–Cordillera (EMB–CAR) on Thursday, September 19.

Balili River Day is celebrated in lieu of ordinance no. 56 passed in 2013 declaring September 16 of every year as Balili River Day, according to Baguio City Councilor Joel Alangsab.

Due to the ailing state of the river, the Balili River System Coalition was created composed of the city of Baguio, La Trinidad and Sablan and the province of Benguet, EMB–CAR, private sector, academe and civil society groups.

Maria Victoria Abrera, EMB Cordillera director, cited the challenge to revitalize the river having a meager budget of P800,000 annually and called the aid of stakeholders to help in cleaning Balili.

Sablan Councilor Octaviano Campala said as part of their efforts to help in the cleanup, the town has employed guards within the river while constantly reminding constituents of proper waste management.

With the ongoing rehabilitation of the Baguio Sewage Treatment Plant, Baguio City and EMB also urged big establishments in the city to have their own sewage treatment plant and to treat their effluents.

With the theme “Balili River, Alwadak, Linisak, Isublik ti Likaw na, Ikamakam ko para iti masakbayan”, the celebration of Balili river day aims to gather all stakeholders to be reminded of the significance of their role in revitalizing the river system.

Balili River spans 23.81 traversing Baguio and the municipalities of La Trinidad and Sablan to Naguillian in La Union.


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