A WEEKLY cleanup is being conducted in the rivers of Mahiga and Kinalumsan in an effort to reduce pollution, along with their tributaries.
The Department of the Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 7, together with the Cities of Cebu and Mandaue and 28 private sectors, has developed a water body program or the “Adopt an Estero” to address the pollution in the rivers.
Eddie Llamedo, DENR 7 Planning and Management Division chief, said the weekly cleanup started in late July 2020.
The cleanup is being undertaken by the two local government units (LGUs) and the “adopters” or the private companies that participated in the program.
Llamedo said the cleanup is the immediate activity the concerned sectors can undertake. He said the concerns of informal settlements and encroachment of structures may be addressed starting next year.
Based on the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) 7, the concerns that need to be addressed are on solid waste management, informal settlements and encroachments, lack of awareness, water quality and siltation.
For the solid waste management concern, the agency plans to place more trash bins in strategic areas based on barangay population data, establishment of a system of garbage collection, segregation, material recovery facility, transport and disposal of all wastes, installation of metal fences in some portions to limit throwing of solid wastes into the river, diversion of the solid wastes into eco-brinks and other resources and installation of a trip-trap or waste catchments system.
Llamedo said a closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera will also be installed in some sections near the river to monitor the violators.
Llamedo said should these plans be materialized, they have to be maintained.
He said the memorandum of agreement (MOA) for the program was signed on July 21, 2020.
Kinalumsan River measures 11.3 kilometers from upstream in Buhisan, Cebu City traversing four barangays before its waters drain to Mactan Channel. Mahiga Creek is a 9.1-kilometer river located at the border of the cities of Mandaue and Cebu.
In 2018, the two rivers were considered biologically dead.
The first visit of Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu in Cebu City as an appointed overseer of Cebu City’s Covid-19 response on June 24 prompted the LGUs and the DENR 7 to develop a rehabilitation plan.
Llamedo said the environment secretary saw the heaps of garbage in the Kinalumsan River.
Cimatu has instructed the DENR 7 and the Cebu City Government to prioritize the cleanup, pointing out that the communities with a high number of active Covid-19 cases are located within the downstream portion of the river.
Llamedo urged the settlers near the rivers to throw their garbage properly.
Llamedo said: “We strongly urge the communities along these two rivers to help by properly throwing their wastes on designated trash bins. Let us not put more stressors on our rivers. Instead, let us be part of the solution.” (JJL)