The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has partnered with 28 private companies to clean up and rehabilitate the 9.1-kilometer Mahiga River in Cebu province.
DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu, together with Mayors Edgardo Labella of Cebu City and Jonas Cortes of Mandaue City, signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) last July 21 with representatives of companies and organizations taking part in the Mahiga River rehabilitation efforts under the Adopt-an-Estero/Waterbody Program.
The program aims to clean the esteros of wastes, debris and silt, mobilize estero communities in cleaning the estero and enlist their active participation in the actual clean up, and in implementing and preparing plans to sustain a clean estero.
The MOA was also signed by the chairmen of six barangays where the river traverses, namely, Apas, Banilad (Cebu City), Kasambangan, Banilad (Mandaue City), Mabolo and Subangdako.
The parties agreed to develop a comprehensive rehabilitation program to reduce the pollution load of the Mahiga River and its tributaries.
“Mahiga River Creek is a critical waterway in the city and its current condition requires intensified actions from all stakeholders to ensure the sustainability of all rehabilitation measures,” said Director Lormelyn Claudio of the DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau in Central Visayas.
According to Claudio, the river’s deterioration has reached the point where it has posed a threat to the safety and health of the communities along its banks, and which the residents and the government can no longer address effectively without help from the private sector.
She said the DENR sought assistance and commitment from donor-partners and private entities and organizations as part of their corporate social responsibility programs for the provision of interventions to improve solid, hazardous and wastewater management of the river, and for the surface clean-up of its specific segment.
They will also assist in the information, education and communication campaign and community mobilization activities of the DENR and local government units to foster harmonious relations with the community and solicit their participation, cooperation and support for the program, among others.
Meanwhile, local governments in Cebu, in collaboration with EMB-Central Visayas, will ensure the establishment of integrated solid, healthcare and household hazardous waste management pursuant to existing environmental laws at the barangay level.
DENR-Central Visayas, Provincial and Community Environment and Natural Resources Offices, and EMB-Central Visayas will intensify the monitoring of industrial and commercial establishments, and undertake regular water quality monitoring of selected points within Mahiga River and its tributaries, to determine improvements in water quality.