Water lily-infested Laguna Lake to get DENR's attention next

Published June 14, 2021, 2:40 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is keen on cleaning up Laguna de Bay (Laguna Lake) next following the agency’s works on Boracay Island and Manila Bay.

In particular, the DENR bared in a statement Monday, June 14 that it wants to rid Laguna de Bay of its water hyacinth or water lily problem, which has been going on for some time.

“I personally commit that in the coming weeks or so, we will be here in this lake to clean up all the water hyacinth and make sure that we will prevent incidents in the previous years where this lake is all covered with water lilies,” DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda said.

DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda (Photo from DENR Facebook page)

“We have rehabilitated Boracay. We are cleaning up the Manila Bay. Laguna Lake is relatively not that big. Why not, we clean this up, too?” added Antiporda, who is the undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units Concerns and head of the Manila Bay Anti-Pollution Task Force.

Water hyacinths are an invasive plant species that can take over the entire surface of a body of water if left unchecked. They can be a nuisance since they allow disease-spreading vector species of mosquitoes to breed freely in the static waters. The plants’ decomposition results in a foul odor, decreases the clarity of water, and depletes the level of dissolved oxygen in the water, making it unsuitable for human use.

Antiporda said that the DENR will continue its project, which started in October 2020, to tap local fishermen in addressing the spread of water lilies.

“The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has a project where we commission the labor or assistance of our local fishermen to harvest the water hyacinths in polluted waterbodies,” he said.

According to him, the project provides livelihood to the fisherfolk and at the same time “gives life to the Bay”.

Antiporda, who promised to supervise the project, expressed confidence in getting the job done at Laguna Lake in the light of the successful rehabilition of the world-famous Boracay Island.

The national government closed down Boracay for six months in 2018 to fix the various ecological problems that have accumulated at the popular tourist destination. So bad was the state of the island that President Duterte described it as a “cesspool”.

The DENR has also been rehabilitating and beautifying Manila Bay under a P389-million effort, which began in 2020. The funds were allocated back in 2019.