AS a response to the urgent call of restoring Cebu City’s river systems, the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), with the technical support of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Environmental Management Bureau 7, conducted a series of bokashi ball-making workshops in Barangays Calamba, Sambag I, Ermita and Bacayan, as well as to the National Service Training Program (NSTP) students of the University of San Carlos.

This new technology in cleaning up a river through the use of bokashi balls was introduced to the barangay officials and riverside dwellers.

Bokashi balls are made up of dried mud where microorganisms are kneaded into it. After a period of incubation, these balls are then thrown into the river for the cleanup.

Aside from its use to clean the rivers, bokashi ball-making can also be an alternative livelihood as its products can be sold to companies operating near the river. The companies can use these balls in cleanup drive as part of their corporate social responsibility program.

As a culminating activity, CCCI held a forum called “Cebu City Rivers Restoration Appreciative Journey and Sustainability Planning” last April 25 at Montebello Villa Hotel. The forum was attended by Barangays Bacayan, Binaliw, Calamba, Camputhaw, Ermita, Mabolo, Sambag and Tejero represented by their barangay captains, councilors, who hold the environment committee chairmanship; barangay environment officers; and riverside dwellers.

Members of the Cebu City Rivers Management Council (CCRMC), such as the Cebu Uniting for Sustainable Water, Cebu City Environment and Natural Resources Office, served as resource speakers, while the Cebu Academe Network and CCCI members operating near the rivers were also around as participants.

The forum served as a venue where business sector, riverside dwellers and the government convened to discover the strengths and opportunities for river restoration, and to decide on a roadmap to mitigate the weaknesses and threats of pursuing the journey for sustainable river resources management and development.

This initiative was made possible because of the financial assistance provided by the Cebu City Government through its CCRMC where CCCI is an active member.