By Chito Chavez
Quezon City officials today appealed to the public to dispose of garbage properly to speed-up the receding time of floodwater in the city, especially with the onset of the rainy season.
Councilors Victor Ferrer Jr., Eufemio Lagumbay and Ranulfo Ludovica issued the call as tons of garbage were collected from the city’s canals, rivers, ponds, creeks and other waterways in the city.
Flood control engineers of the city government and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) noted that their field men had retrieved large logs and appliances like dining tables, refrigerators, chest freezers and the like.
DPWH Second District Engineer Marlyn Garma-Inguillo said that the government would “save a lot of funds’’ if the citizens dispose their garbage properly as this will lessen the expenditures for flood control activities.
She noted the savings from flood control projects may be used to finance other urgent programs of the DPWH.
DPWH First Assistant District Engineer Loida Busa said the agency in coordination with the city government had conducted the continuous de-clogging and cleaning of the inlets, drainage system and waterways to ease flooding.
To plug all possible loopholes, the Quezon City Engineering Department (QCED) said it will further concentrate on the inspection of manholes and inlets in areas near food chains and entertainment strips to ensure that the drainage systems are free from grease-laced waste materials.
Joselito Cabungcal chief of the QCED said non-biodegradable materials, such as grease and similar waste materials hamper rainwater flow, clogging the inlets which result in floods of long duration.
“Errant eateries, restaurants and other food chains are the main culprits of further aggravating the flooding woes in the city,’’ Cabungcal said.
Among the target areas of the city’s flood control drive are Tomas Morato, Timog Avenue, Quezon Avenue where rows of restaurants are located and areas near shopping centers and malls.
Julius Avenido of the city’s Business Permit and Licensing Office (BPLO) said his office will revoke the permits of non-complying restaurants, bars, and eateries in the city.
“We will ask the engineering department for the list of restaurants without the required flood control equipment. We will not renew their business permits and in the worst scenario even revoke their permits until they become compliant,’’ Avenido said.
In the name of fairness and equality, Cabungcal stressed that the waste disposal system of first-class restaurants, fine dining places, bar and grill, cafes, bistros, fast food chains and even low-cost eateries (carenderias) will randomly be inspected to once and for all penalize individuals and groups for failure to adhere to lawful waste management process.
However, despite the city’s efforts Cabungcal said flooding cannot be totally eliminated citing factors like rapid industrialization and economic progress where the increase in the number of concrete and paved roads decreased the absorption ability of the ground surface.
The QCED has conducted continuous de-silting, de-clogging, and cleaning operations on major waterways year-round to allow rainwater to move freely on its natural course and let flooding subside much quicker.
He warned the owners of fast food chains, canteens and other eateries of unfavorable circumstances if their establishments are not equipped with “grease traps’’ a gadget used to prevent fat and oil components from running through the restaurants’ drain.
Cabungcal explained that aside from non-biodegradable items oil, lard and fat components from the restaurant kitchens solidify turning into sticky grease narrowing the passageway of rainwater in the inlets and drainage mains.
Aside from the local government units (LGU) and other government agencies are also responsible for conducting sanitary and health inspections of the food establishments to ensure that the eating places conform to government standards.
Cabungcal said he will recommend to the mayor to clamp down on delinquent and defiant eateries without “grease traps’’ adding his office will extensively conduct frequent and random inspections on food establishments in the city to ensure that all groups under the restaurant business comply with the basic requirements.
He noted that his men have continuously tried to trace the source of wastes that are mostly components of discarded cooking oil in canals, rivers, and creeks.
“In compliance with the flood control drive of Mayor Bautista, we have relentlessly pursued the cleaning of the waterways but errant restaurant personnel continue to unlawfully dispose their waste in the water systems. We have to put a stop to all these activities,’’ Cabungcal added.
In other progressive countries, restaurant owners are asked to use “enzymes’’ before the cooking oil wastes are discharged by their personnel through the public sewer system.