Butuanon: A call to stewardship
BUSINESS AFTER BUSINESS - Romelinda Garces (The Freeman) - November 1, 2018 - 12:00am

The growing consciousness over the rivers in Cebu shows how important these bodies of water are to our survival.   With the noted intrusion of salt water in the aquifers and the declared permeation as well of nitrogen in at least two wells of the Metro Cebu Water District, which caused the shutdown of the same wells, brings to fore the urgency of restoring and protecting our rivers.


In Cebu City, measures are being done to revitalize the Mahiga Creek, which is repeatedly being defined as a river. In Mandaue City, steps are also taken to give way to the flow of Subangdaku where the Mahiga waters traverse. And with the upcoming International River Summit in November, attention is focused on bringing back to life the dying Butuanon River.

The fact that Butuanon is outrightly called a river makes me surmise that this body of water must have been a bigger one. Where Tipolo, Labogon and Mahiga waters are referred to most often as creeks, the Butuanon has always been called a river.

So what has made this river reduce its  breadth? Heavy siltation brought about by the erosion along the slopes. The growing garbage and flotsam that take residence in the river bed.

The polluted waste waters from domestic and industrial sewage outfalls and domestic refuse from the upstream, midstream and downstream. Many reasons. But  did you know that not so long ago people could still fish and sail in certain parts of the Butuanon? Oh how nice it would be to see life like that there again. Not the bubbly existence of gruesome bacteria.

So the coming in of the International River Summit with the theme: Raising awareness, commitment and resources for the ButuanonRiver has found more willing volunteers, more conscious residents and business and non-government organizations cooperating finally with the local government of Mandaue to take this bold step to resuscitate if not resurrect the Butuanon River.

May God bless this endeavor as He has commanded to the first man to be a good steward of the undefiled Earth.

As early as creation God has already given us this responsibility “And God blessed them. And God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth." - Genesis 1:28

And it’s just right to take it seriously for our sake.

One of the media pillars in broadcast Atty. Cynthia Barte asked Mayor Luigi  Quisumbing about what Mandaue has done so far to ensure that there will be rivers yet for her grandchildren and for the doable items that people can follow and the Mayor called to mind the strong enforcement of the no plastic wrappers allowed in Mandaue City, which took a lot of political will despite the strong opposition of the public who were so used to using plastic wrappers for groceries and other wet market items. Slowly people have gotten used to bringing their own reusable bags.

Other small thing a citizen can do is to be disciplined in not throwing their garbage into the canals that empty into the rivers. Or to make septic tanks that are sanitary and do not further clog the drainage with non-biodegradable items from personal care products like shampoo sachets, sanitary liners and the like. And more importantly to constantly check septic tanks so they are properly maintained and do not leak into the struggling acquirers. To do small things like segregation of garbage and kitchen waste composting really goes a long way in following God’s command for stewardship.

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