By Minerva BC Newman
CEBU CITY — A total of 23,057.55 kilos or 1,439.25 sacks of trash were gathered from the second round of the simultaneous river clean-up in Central Visayas last March 22 from the 10 rivers in the region.
These rivers were the Bulacao River, Luyang River and Butuanon River in Cebu Province; Manaba River, Abatan River and Inabanga River in Bohol; Banica River, Sicopong River and Panam-angan River in Negros Oriental and Señora River in Siquijor Province.
Department of Environment and Natural Resources Region 7 (DENR 7) Executive Director Gilbert Gonzales said there were about 8,164 volunteers from 242 partners that joined the clean-up.
To date, there are 94 public and private partners in Central Visayas that have signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) and memorandum of partnership (MOP) with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-7).
Gonzales said the MOA/MOP was part of the Rivers for Life Program that employ concerted actions to encourage all stakeholders to support the cleaning of rivers and waterways.
Of the 94 partners, 83 are private firms located near or along riverbanks while others are local government partners and national government agencies, Gonzales added.
“We recognize the support that we are now getting from our partners, especially the support coming from the local government units and private establishments, for their commitment to help us address the huge volume of silt, wastes and other debris that have affected our river systems in the region,” Gonzales added.
Under the MOA, the parties will undertake expanded environmental improvement as well as conduct information and education campaigns, community mobilization activities and trainings for concerned stakeholders and conduct of regular clean-up activities to sustain the cleanliness of rivers, he said.
According to Gonzales the Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer (CENRO) for Argao Aniceto Aquino, in partnership with the Cebu City government, launched on March 23 the Bulacao River Park Development in Barangay Inayawan Cebu City by installing eco-bricks for pathways and planting ornamental flowers and trees along its riverbanks.
On March 30, the city government of Mandaue, with the Environmental Management Bureau in Region 7 (EMB-7), initiated another Butuanon river clean-up and tree planting as part of the river restoration project for Butuanon River, Gonzales bared.
“With the strong support of our partners and the communities in ensuring that these rivers are properly rehabilitated and would remain clean, we can pass on to the next generation a much healthier and safer water resources,” Gonzales said.