BAGUIO CITY – Environment officials disclosed that the water quality of the Baily river continues to worsen while the water quality of the Bued river is not far behind amidst the implementation of various interventions by concerned local governments, agencies and the private sector to clean the waterways.
Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) Cordillera regional director Reynaldo S. Digamo said that based on the latest monitoring of the Balili river that strands from Baguio City, La Trinidad and Sablan in Benguet and exits in Naguilian, La Union, the fecal coliform in the water of the Balili river reached the hundreds of billions while the waters of the Bued river that strands from Baguio City, Tuba, Benguet and exits in Rosario, La Union has reached millions which are way beyond the prescribed standards of coliform in the waters of the river systems.
“The data that we obtained in our previous monitoring only shows that the interventions being implemented by the concerned local governments, agencies and the private sector are not actually working that is why it is high time for everyone to revisit their activities. We no longer need lip service this time because the water quality of Balili and Bued rivers are it their worst,” Digamo stressed.
Under the standards of the Philippine Clean Water Act, Balili river is classified as Class A body of water wherein its water quality is supposedly potable and with an allowable 1.1 most probable number (MP) of fecal coliform of 1.1 per 100 milliliter while Bued river is classified as Class C body of water wherein it is suitable for agriculture and fishery with an allowable fecal coliform of 200 MPN per 100 milliliter.
The EMB-CAR official revealed the based on the agency’s monitoring report, the worst water quality of Balili river was 800 billion MPN per 100 milliliter while the worst water quality of the Bued river was several millions MPN per 100 milliliter which should be a cause for alarm by all the involved stakeholders.
According to him, the worsening water quality in both river systems only indicates the existence of a large number of residences that directly discharge their sewerage waste to the river systems aside from the proliferation of backyard piggeries that also discharge animal waste to the said bodies of water.
Digamo required the concerned government agencies, the involved local governments and the private sector to submit their concrete plans and programs on how to improve the water quality in the two major bodies of water in the city which must contain the timetable on the realization of the programmed activities to reduce the pollutants in the said rivers.
He asserted that something must be done by the people to help improve the worsening state of the Balili and Bued rivers before it will be too late as the rivers might be considered ‘dead’ once their water quality continues to worsen.
Digamo underscored based on the comparison of the data obtained by the agency over the past 5 years, the water quality of the two river systems never improved but it actually worsened with the data in 2017 exceeding the average generated over the preceding 4 years.
He reiterated the EMB-CAR’s recommendations for the implementation of a moratorium on the put up of additional structures that will be connected to the overloaded sewerage treatment plant apart from the put up of the market and slaughterhouse sewer facilities. By HENT