The Tullahan River can be developed as an alternative transport route for people and goods once cleaned up, with an official of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) saying this can alleviate traffic in Metro Manila, the Philippine News Agency reported.
“If we can clean up and revive Tullahan River, this waterway can serve that purpose,” Environment Undersecretary Jonas Leones said recently.
Leones made the statement following the inspection of the river this month in preparation for its rehabilitation, one of the activities lined up for cleaning up the Manila Bay.
Tullahan River flows from Quezon City to the cities of Valenzuela and Malabon before discharging into Manila Bay.
The two cities are some of the country's centers of population, trade and industry – indicating the river’s potential as an alternative transport route.
Leones mentioned some examples of waterways which help promote mobility. In Venice, Italy, he said waterways still provide the means for transporting people and products, Singapore has river transportation, while Thailand has floating markets.
"Using waterways as transport routes can be done," he added.
The agency has scheduled the river’s dredging this year to remove silt and trash that accumulated over the years as debris continues to pollute water, reducing water-carrying capacity and impeding water flow.
Accumulation of silt and trash also affected the biodiversity of the Tullahan River. "If we clean up that river, there's a chance for species to eventually live there again," he added.
Amid challenges in rehabilitating the river due to the extent of environmental degradation, the official expressed his gratitude to San Miguel Corp. for initiating the cleanup drive.