The Philippines: “Estero Blitz” Campaign Nears Completion

A total of 1,124 truckloads of garbage from various waterways or “esteros” in the metropolis had been collected by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) as part of the agency’s program “Estero Blitz” in preparation for the onset of the rainy season.

The MMDA’s “Estero Blitz” campaign, involves declogging and dredging of creeks and drainage in flood-prone areas in Metro Manila. It was launched on August 2011 as a means to prevent massive flooding.

Emma Quiambao, Director of Flood Control and Sewerage Management Office of MMDA, said they have collected 7,190 cubic meters garbage, or equivalent to 1,124 truckloads collected from 15 major waterways.

The garbage collected this year, though not yet over, is more than half higher compared to last year’s 334 truckloads of garbage.

Quiambao said that among the heavily-silted esteros they have finished include: Viente Reales creek, in Valenzuela; Tanigue Creek in Caloocan; Letre Open Canal, Tonsuya, Malabon; Pinagsabugan Creek, Longos, Malabon; Tanque Creek, NIA Road, Quezon City; Mariblo Creek, Barangay Bungad, Quezon City; Concepcion Creek/Bayan Bayanan Outfall, Concepcion Marikina; Hagonoy Retarding Pond/Hagonoy Creek, Hagonoy, Taguig; Sapang Buwaya Creek, San Isidro, Paranaque; Pasong Diablo Creek, Alabang, Muntinlupa; Maricaban Creek, Pasay; Estero Tripa de Gallina, Buendia Avenue to Zobel Roxas, Pasay, and its Malate, Manila side.

“We are about to conclude the campaign,” said Quiambao adding that the last to be clean is the Estero De Pandacan in Pandacan, Manila this Friday (June 6).

Quiambao said most of the collected waste materials are composed of plastic and styrofor.

Quiambao said the informal settlers near the creeks are the reason behind the truckloads of garbage and the clogging of drainage. They are known to throw garbage directly in the canals.

Quiambao said that the waterway having the heaviest loads of garbage is the Hagonoy creek in Taguig City. It has a total of 1,296 cubic meter garbage load, which is equivalent to 237 truckloads.

In Hagonoy, Taguig City alone, we have collected 237 truckloads but only because the area is near the disposal site,” Quiambao explained.

The “Estero Blitz” campaign will last until June.

Quiambao also mentioned that the garbage in waterways vastly affects the operation of the Pasig River ferry service.

The waterways, if not cleaned, will affect the operation in the Pasig River ferry. It may also overflow and could eventually cause floods,” Quiambao explained.

Now on its fourth year, MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said the “Estero Blitz” aims to maximize the “conveyance capacity” of open waterways in Metro Manila to enable it to accommodate larger volume of floodwaters during the rainy season.

The MMDA chief explained “this time we’re focusing on small, inner waterways that have not been attended to in the past.”

This will definitely hasten the flood receding rate and minimize if not totally eliminate flooding and its adverse effects on the lives of the Metro Manila residents, the traveling public and preclude damage to life and properties,” Tolentino said.

“We are calling on the public to participate in cleaning up their surroundings. We can do this more effectively if everybody is helping,” he said.

Press release, June 6, 2014

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