Capitol cleans up Bicol River with microorganisms
By Juan Escandor Jr. NAGA CITY---Bringing the clean-up campaign of the Bicol River to the scientific route, the provincial government of Camarines Sur uses microorganisms to speed up decomposition of sludge deposited at its bottom. Bicol River, the 7th largest river in the country, is an important body of water in Camarines Sur for its contribution to the economy in terms of providing livelihood for fisherfolks, source of irrigation water and means of transportation. “But because of human activities, the Bicol River has suffered degradation which pushed the provincial government of Camarines Sur to launch the Bicol River Rehabilitation Project in 2013,” according to Lucena Bermeo, head of Environmental, Disaster, Management and Emergency Response Office (EDMERO). Bermeo said for the past two years the provincial government has improved the water quality of the Bicol River with the use of Effective Microorganism Active Solution (Emas) and Bokashi balls. She explained that these solutions are culture of 80 species of microorganism found in bio-wastes derived from market and kitchen wastes and vegetables peelings. “These microorganisms hasten the decomposition of bottom sludge and surface water body, helping eradicate foul odor, revive aquatic plants, and in general, improve the quality of water,” Bermeo said. She said the Emas is an organic liquid material that serves as pollution control and management agent which is also widely used in Japan, Malaysia and other countries. “In Camarines Sur, the municipalities of Libmanan, Camaligan, Pili, Del Gallego, Ragay, Milaor, Minalabac, Sipocot, Calabanga, Bula and Bato have already applied Emas to clean their esteros and other bodies of water,” she said. Bermeo said that aside from Emas, the provincial government of Camarines Sur also uses an organic ball called Bokashi which is also effective in cleaning the waters. She said Bokashi balls are fermented organic matter mixed with soil and binding materials formed into spheres thrown into bodies of water to clean them up.