The simultaneous cleanup of Manila Bay tributaries managed to yield about 37,000 kilograms of garbage, local reports said on Sunday.
Department of Environment and Natural Resources Undersecretary Jonas Leones reported that “1,980 volunteers came forward, resulting in the cleanup of garbage with a total volume of 37,103 kilograms of garbage, collected in 5,301 sacks.”
Estero de Magdalena, Estero de San Lazaro, Estero de Tripa de Gallina, Paltok Creek, Navotas River, Tullahan River, Tumana Creek, and the San Juan River System are among the waterways cleaned.
Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said the massive cleanup of the bay’s tributaries, dubbed as the “Battle for the Rivers and Esteros,” involved communities to empower them in protecting their own waterways.
“I say that the Tullahan River cleanup is the most organized, well-attended, and most prepared in the launching of the Battle for the Rivers and Esteros. It is said that cleaning Tullahan River is impossible. But with the impressive support and commitment of barangay captains, the impossible becomes possible,” he said.
Cimatu reiterated the government’s commitment to remove trash from the Tullahan River and improve its quality, saying its coliform level has hit 92 million most probable number (MPN) per 100 milliliters (mL).
The acceptable level for Class SB water is only 100 MPN/100 mL.
Meanwhile, the agency reminded residents to stop throwing their garbage along major waterways in the metropolis to help accelerate the cleanup of Manila Bay.
“Many factors are contributing to San Juan River’s problems but one thing that can help right away is for us, as individuals, to be conscious about not throwing trash there,” Environment Assistant Secretary Joselin Marcus Fragada said.
Wastes from its tributaries are considered one of the primary pollutants of the bay and that the agency has already ordered barangay officials to initiate a weekly cleanup of waterways in their respective areas of jurisdiction.
“We made a pledge today as individuals to become conscious of the environment,” Fragada said. “Tarpaulins we gave to barangays earlier are only signs we want cleanliness in San Juan River and Manila Bay. Try placing these tarpaulins in strategic places. Create consciousness.”