Science and Environment

Mimaropa marks World Water Day with river cleanup

Rhodina Villanueva - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Over 9,000 volunteers marked World Water Day (WWD) in the Mimaropa region with simultaneous cleanup of 11 rivers, which netted around 22 tons of garbage, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said.

The cleanup coincided with the launch of the Calapan River rehabilitation project in Oriental Mindoro. The river has been suffering from pollution due to solid waste disposal and untreated wastewater discharge.

The cleanup activities recently organized by the DENR gathered participants from the agency’s field offices, partner agencies, local government units (LGUs), non-government organizations, academic, religious, and business sectors and other civil society groups with one goal in mind: to save rivers from pollution, and achieve safe water for present and future generations.

The event was dubbed, “Water for all now and foRiver,” taking off from this year’s WWD theme, “Water for All, Leaving No One Behind.” WWD is celebrated every March 22.

Aside from the Calapan River, the volunteers also cleaned up the Sabang River in Sablayan, and Pandurucan River in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro; Boac River in Marinduque; and Bangon-bongoy River in Romblon.

In Palawan, citizens trooped to the Umalad River in Roxas, Abongan River in Taytay, Tagburos River in Puerto Princesa City, Buligay River in Brooke’s Point, Panitian River in Quezon, and Sitio Manggahan 1 and 2, and Bakawan Creeks in Coron.

DENR Mimaropa regional executive director Henry Adornado said that the degrading state of rivers and the rest of the country’s environment prompted the DENR to enforce the law in the rehabilitation of critical areas.

“From the regional down to our provincial and community offices, the DENR offices here in Mimaropa work as one in protecting and conserving our environment,” he said.

Calapan River was designated as a Water Quality Management Area in 2013. Since then, numerous efforts have been undertaken by the city government to restore its water quality, including the passage of several ordinances consistent with environmental laws.

The area designation beefs up protection initiatives as it requires management action by the local government and other stakeholders.

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