10-year Balili River plan readied

ALL EFFORTS are pushed towards the clean-up of Balili River, City Environment and Parks Management Officer Cordelia Lacsamana said, in consonance with the revised ten-year Balili river Water Quality Management Area (WQMA) plan.

According to Lacsamana, coordination between her office, national line agencies, concerned agencies, barangays, private entities, civil society, peoples’ organizations and involved groups is vital to the accomplishment of the goal of a clean Balili River.

Balili River, with main tributary Sagudin runs for at least 24 kilometers and 23 tributary creeks within Baguio City then flows to La Trinidad and Sablan, Benguet, before going to La Union.

Deemed as Class “C” in 2014, the river is fit only for agricultural and industrial. In an earlier study, it was said to be a “biologically dead” river, with efforts to revitalize it through the Balili River System Revitalization Coalition (BRSRC), of which the city is a member together with concerned entities.

Lacsamana said dialogues are done regularly with information and education campaign with barangay counterparts to stamp out dumping of garbage and household waste in the riverway. Accordingly, a portion of pollutants are animal wastes, particularly from poultries and piggeries.

During the first quarter Balili River meeting, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Environmental Management Board (DENR-EMB) Regional Director Reynalso Digamo reminded attendees the outcome is more important, not the output.

Confronted with the fact that pollution is an output of a livelihood program such as poultry and piggeries, Digamo urged for proposals dealing with cleaner, organic and compostable waste materials. He also suggested a farm visit to certified organic farms with clean waste materials.

Lacsamana also said coordination with city-based agencies are on-going with the Health Services Office for sanitary inspection, the City Engineering Office for river cleaning, the City Building and Architecture Office for inspection of septic facilities, and river encroachment.

As for deputized environmental enforcers or river marshalls, Lacsamana said the budgetary requirements are being worked out.

There are also plans for new sections of the Sewage Treatment Plant (STP). Funding for the programs are being worked on, she added.

The Solid Waste Management Board in the barangays will convene soon, Lacsamana also said, alongside other plans and programs. (Julie Fianza/PIO)

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