Alarmingly High

Davao River contains critical levels of phosphate, total suspended solids, and fecal coliform which may have caused water-borne diseases in neighboring areas
Alarmingly High
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An official of the Davao River Basin Management Alliance revealed that the Davao River contains a critical level of phosphate, total suspended solids, and fecal coliform. 

Dr. Della Grace Bacaltos of the Davao River Basin Management Alliance, Help Davao Network said in a media interview on Thursday, November 23, 2023 at the Bapa Benny Tutud, Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU), that based on 2019-2020 Davao River Basin (DRB) Scorecard, there is an alarmingly high level of phosphate, total suspended solids, and fecal coliform in Davao River.

“These parameters include phosphate, total suspended solids (TSS), and fecal coliform with maximum values of 0.6-0.8 milligram per liter (mg/L); 2,705-3,164 mg/L and 1.6M Most Probable Number (MPN) /100 milliliter (ml) , respectively, in the midstream and downstream portions of Davao River Basin,” Bacaltos said.  

She added that the high volume of discharge coming from industries has contributed to the increased number of particles in the river. 

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) has identified that there are 15 banana plantations, two slaughterhouses and dressing plants, nine hospitals and clinics along the Davao River Basin (DRB). She expressed that a single banana plantation could discharge about 196,729 cubic meter per year.

The biological parameter or fecal coliform may have caused the occurrence of water-borne diseases among the settlers near the DRB. Based on the data of the Davao Center for Health Development in 2021 there are around 5,933 cases of waterborne diseases like diarrhea, cholera, and typhoid fever. 

Bacaltos emphasized that there is a need to increase the awareness of the public on the importance of DRB in our ecosystem, goods, and services as well as to build the interest of various stakeholders to advocate and invest in DRB. It also aims to bring about the desired change in the attitude, behavior, and practices of our stakeholders.     

Davao City Councilor Temujin “Tek” Ocampo, chairperson of the committee on environment and natural resources of the 20th City Council, said in a media interview that there is already a law that prohibits the dumping of wastewater in the river but oftentimes these industries are disposing them to the river when it is raining so that authorities will not notice.

Ocampo highlighted that the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro) and other environmental offices are performing their job. It's just that the owners of these industries are doing these violations whenever authorities are not looking.

“There really is a need to inform these companies, these establishments how important ang atoang [our] environment [is],” Ocampo said.

Ocampo then shared that Kitakyushu was one of the most polluted cities in Japan in the 1960s but the Japanese slowly reversed this in the 1990s by educating its constituents on the importance of the environment. He emphasized that by the Japanese's example, Dabawenyos too could slowly reverse the drastic effect of pollution on the environment. RGP


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