Government and private environment volunteers embark on a massive river clean-up of the 27.7 kilometer San Cristobal River in time for the international celebration of “World Wildlife Day” themed “Life Below Water: For People and Planet”, led by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources regional office in Barangay Parian, Calamba City on Mar. 1, 2019. (Photo by Saul E. Pa-a)
CALAMBA CITY, Laguna – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Calabarazon on Friday held a massive clean-up of the San Cristobal River in the city in time for the celebration of “World Wildlife Day” themed “Life Below Water: For People and Planet”.
As early as 7 a.m., Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO)-Laguna head Ronilo L. Salac and Sta. Cruz Community ENRO chief Victor H. Mercado led some 223 volunteers from both government and private sectors during the clean-up drive in Barangay Parian.
Clad in working clothes and uniforms with gloves, sticks, rakes and shovels, the volunteers started fishing out from the blackish river the trash and assorted garbage strewn on both riverbanks.
“Dati dito kami naliligo, naglalaba nung kabataan ko, pero ngayon wala na. Parang pusali na at sobrang baho (We used to bathe here, launder our clothes during our childhood, but now, no one does that anymore. It’s like a quagmire and stinks),” tricycle driver Mang Jude, 55, said.
The volunteers were able to collect around 400 sacks or 2,963 kilos of solid wastes, consisted of mostly plastics, pieces of rotten wood, metal scraps and other debris.
Kizza Candulisas, Laguna Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) information officer, told Philippine News Agency (PNA) that San Cristobal River stretches to some 27.7 kilometers, 24.7 kms of which traverses Laguna while the 3km-upstream is found in the border of Batangas and Cavite.
Candulisas said the river traverses the 12 barangays in Calamba City, three in Cabuyao and a barangay in Sta. Rosa City.
More than 200 volunteers from government and private sectors join the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) clean-up of the San Cristobal River in Barangay Parian, Calamba City, where around three tons of solid wastes were collected.(Photo by Saul E. Pa-a)
Another resident, Aling Letty, 60, expressed dismay over the current condition of the river.
“Grabe na. Hindi na siya ilog, parang malaking canal, kaya wala nang naliligo diyan di tulad nung kami mga bata pa (It’s worst now, it’s no longer a river and looks like a huge sewage. That’s why no one dares to bathe there, unlike those days when we were young kids)," she said.
According to the Laguna Lake Development Authority, San Cristobal River was monitored, as of third quarter last year, with more than 20 million most probable number (mpn) or 100 ml total coliforms.
The DENR Calabarzon has already conducted a similar clean-up of Zapote River near Maliksi III in Bacoor City, Cavite; San Juan River in Barangay San Roque, Sto. Tomas, Batangas; Boso-Boso River at Southville 9, Barangay Pinugay, Baras, Rizal; and Iyam-Dumacaa River, which flows through the cities of Tayabas and Lucena, Quezon. (PNA)