THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has conducted more than 1,300 cleanup drives on various rivers and coastal areas in Bulacan since Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu launched the #BattleForManilaBay in 2019.
Bulacan Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer (Penro) Emelita Lingat said the river cleanup has resulted in the collection of over 357,000 tons solid waste and was actively participated in by more than 6,000 volunteers from various locality in the province.
"We are serious with our program to clean Manila Bay portion in Bulacan. And we are now seeing the results of our collaborative efforts with local governments and communities, but still we need to do more to end this battle," she said.
She said the DENR-Bulacan has also recovered a total of 30 kilometers of easement or river bank along the towns of Marilao-Meycauyan-Obando river system as an important strategy to clean Manila Bay and free from illegal structures.
"We need to protect our river easement from littering and illegal construction of structures to ensure the cleanliness of Manila Bay," she added.
Five floating trash traps measuring 120 linear meters were also installed in the five barangays of Meycauayan town to prevent solid waste from reaching the shoreline of Manila Bay.
This was collected and monitored daily by 100 estero rangers hired by the DENR to help in the cleanup and rehabilitation and monitoring of rivers.
Removal of submerged solid wastes in Meycauayan-Obando river system were also conducted through mechanized cleanup or using back-hoe, the process is also known as "grubbing."
A total of 2,160 cubic meters of mixed silt and trash were grubbed, Lingat said, adding that this process can facilitate the faster cleaning of rivers and tributaries especially those heavily polluted.
According to Paquito Moren, Jr., executive director of DENR in Central Luzon, the DENR is set to conduct more river and coastal cleanups, delineation and recovery of river easement areas, grubbing, installation of floating trash traps, information, education and communication (IEC) campaign and resettlement of informal settlers this year in the Manila Bay areas in Central Luzon covering Pampanga, Bulacan, Bataan Tarlac and Nueva Ecija.
He also appealed to the public and local government units to support the government initiatives in saving Manila Bay and encouraged them to strictly practice the proper solid waste management.