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Board strengthens policies governing Naga river

By Keren Anne Bernadas

The Naga River Watershed – Water Quality Management Governing Board will create a technical working group to focus on conducting inventory of reports, studies and other relevant data in steering up policies and guidelines to better the conservation and protection of the water body.

During a board meeting convened by the DENR – Environmental Management Bureau Region 5 on Friday, June 16, the proposed resolution to establish the said Technical Working Group (TWG) received unanimous approval.

One of the TWG’s main tasks is to identify sources of oil and grease exceedance in Naga River, as well as prepare plans and recommendations to be submitted to the board.

The Naga City Environment and Natural Resources Office (ENRO) will head the said technical working group with several national government agencies, academe and other related offices to serve as members.

Representatives and members of the NRW-WQMA during its meeting on June 16, 2023 at Naga Pilgrims Hotel. || Photo credits: Marijoe Maquiñana, ADNU, PIA intern

Naga City ENRO, technical personnel Marvin Sagun also discussed the compliance of the city government in maintaining the cleanliness of the Naga River as encapsulated in the 10-year Action Plan. He also reported the recent complaints regarding the alleged disposal of oil and grease at the stretch of said waterbody. The office conducted a surprise inspection following the complaints to check on the possible violations.

Specifically, establishments alongside the tributaries of Mangga Creek at Dayandang, Magsaysay Bridge at Balatas, Colgante Bridge, San Francisco and Tinago, as well as the Naga City People’s Mall, contribute to wastewater, putting Naga River at risk of water pollution.

In June, City Mayor Nelson Legacion actively engaged in a dialogue with proprietors and representatives of several establishments that had been reported for improper wastewater disposal. Mayor Legacion issued a stringent directive mandating the implementation of a comprehensive and centralized oil and grease containment system, along with regular maintenance and cleaning of their treatment facility.

Additionally, these establishments shall properly document its oil sludge disposal and shall observe the cleanliness of the riverside.

The Naga City ENRO will submit the list of tourist establishments with verified violations to the Department of Tourism Regional Office 5, to intensify the policies.

Sagun added that there is high composition of oil and grease, dissolved oxygen and phosphate, that could cause the river to die. This was the result of the water sampling conducted by the ENRO and DENR-EMB 5 to check the status of the water quality of the river.

In line with this, the governing board pushed for stricter implementation of local ordinances such as the Naga City Ordinance to Control and Preserve Aquatic Life at the Naga River with a monitoring team that include police officials, and barangay officials, and riverine barangays.

Other recommendations crafted during the said forum is the inclusion of barangays as part of the the monitoring body, scheduling of the hazardous waste collection, issuance of DENR ID for business renewal, and inspection of used oil among residential houses. (PIA5/Camarines Sur)


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