Metro Cebu’s rivers ‘not hopeless’

DESPITE the worsening state of some rivers and other bodies of water in Metro Cebu, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 7 said local government units (LGU) can still do something to save them.

During yesterday’s second part of the Understanding Choices Forum organized by the Eduardo Aboitiz Development Studies Center of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc., Engr. Cindylyn Pepito said bodies of water in Cebu can still be revived.

“If others can do it, why not here,” she said. She heads the Ambient Quality Monitoring Section of DENR 7.

Pepito was referring to the initiative of Angat Kabataan ng Taytay in reviving the Maningning Creek in Taytay, Rizal.

Also during the forum with the theme “Are we ready for the new normal?” Angat Kabataan ng Taytay founder John Tobit Cruz shared how he and three of his friends gathered efforts to resuscitate the three-kilometer Maningning Creek.

From doing coastal cleanups every weekend with 20 volunteers, Cruz and his friends managed to desilt portions of the creek using a borrowed backhoe and scrape the grasses that covered portions of it.

Electric fan covers attached to long bamboo poles were used as garbage scoopers by the volunteers.

“The idea started from four crazy friends who dreamed big for their community,” she said.

Eventually, they were able to convince the entire community to help them.

Fist-sized bokashi balls made of garden soil, molasses, rice hull and a microorganism solution were used to filter out the bad bacteria in the dirty water. The balls were thrown into the creek to turn black water crystal clear.

The community was able to bring life again to the creek after two years.

In Cebu, Pepito said they were able to monitor and study four rivers and three other bodies of water since last year.

These include Butuanon River in Mandaue City, Guadalupe River in Cebu City, Lugang River in Carmen, Sapangdaku River in Toledo City, Mactan East Coast, Liloan coastal waters and the Cansaga Bay.

According to Pepito, most of the upstream areas of the rivers where the sources of water came is still in good condition.

The contamination, she said, is usually seen downstream.

“Not all of it failed. There are other areas that passed the standards so it is possible for other areas to be revived,” Pepito said.

She said the results of the monitoring will be sent to the LGUs.

“Before the year ends, all the LGUs will have copies of the results because they are the ones that will implement projects to rehabilitate their rivers,” Pepito said.

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