By Jonathan L. Mayuga, March 31 2019; Business Mirror

Image Credit to GMA News

ENVIRONMENT Secretary Roy A. Cimatu on Sunday led simultaneous river and estero cleanups in 42 barangays in Metro Manila as part of the effort to rehabilitate Manila Bay.

Cimatu believes that to rehabilitate Manila Bay, it is imperative to stop pollution at source.

Some of the most polluted rivers and esteros that drain out to Manila Bay have been identified and targeted for the simultaneous river cleanup by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), which is taking the lead in the “Battle for Manila Bay,” a P4.7-billion, seven-year program to save Manila Bay from environmental degradation.

The chairmen of these 42 barangay in the cities of Quezon, Caloocan, Valenzuela, Malabon and Navotas are also set to sign an agreement with the DENR.

Dubbed Kasunduan (Filipino term for agreement), the memorandum of agreement underscores the barangays’ commitment to help improve water quality, proper management of solid wastes, including the promotion of waste reduction, reuse and recycling, partnership in community mobilization, and in information and education campaigns for water quality and solid-waste management, habitat restoration, climate and disaster resiliency.

Simultaneous cleanups of rivers, creeks, esteros and other waterways were conducted by all the barangay covering the Tullahan-Tinajeros river system, including private-sector partners and other national government agencies supporting the rehabilitation of these creeks.

The rehabilitation of the Tullahan-Tinajeros river system will positively affect efforts to clean up Manila Bay, Cimatu said.

The Tullahan-Tinajeros River System spans 27 kilometers, from La Mesa Water Reservoir in Fairview, Quezon City, all the way to the mouth of Manila Bay at Centennial Park in Navotas City. It is one of the most polluted waterways in Metro Manila and a major tributary of Manila Bay.

San Miguel Corp. recently pledged assistance for the dredging and cleanup of the river. Other private-sector partners such as the North Luzon Expressway, Vanson and Boysen Philippines have also pledged continuing support to the rehabilitation of the creeks and tributaries of the Tullahan River.

The simultaneous cleanup of the creeks and tributaries in the Tullahan-Tinajeros River System is a joint partnership of the DENR with other national government agencies such as the Department of the Interior and Local Government and with selected cities and barangays, Department of Public Works and Highways, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority,  the private sector, the schools and civil-society organizations.

Cleanup activities were also held at the Estero de Tripa de Gallina, Estero de Magdalena, Marikina River/Manggahan Floodway, Pasig River, Malabon-Navotas River, Las Piñas-Zapote River, San Juan River, Parañaque River and Taguig-Pateros River.