Wastewater management key to improving Cebu rivers’ water quality

While water quality of Cebu’s rivers is considered poor, resource speakers at the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. (RAFI) Understanding Choices Forum on wastewater management agreed there is still hope to reverse the situation.

In the second of a four-part forum series on water, which was held on October 9 at the Eduardo Aboitiz Development Studies Center (EADSC), experts weighed in on improving water quality through wastewater management.

Secretary Neric Acosta, Presidential Adviser for Environmental Protection and General Manager of the Laguna Lake Development Authority, presented the salient points of the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004 that seeks to protect our country’s bodies of water. He discussed its implementing rules and regulations as well as the different challenges facing its implementation, which include treatment of wastewater from homes and industries.

Engr. Cindylyn Pepito, chief of the Ambient Quality Monitoring Section of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Environmental Management Bureau VII, also presented recent water testing results done on different rivers in Cebu. She said some major rivers have poor water quality, mostly due to untreated wastewater, but added that it can still be reversed.

Cebu City Councilor Nida Cabrera, who authored the ordinance, which led to the creation of a Cebu City Septage Management Board in 2014, also talked about the establishment of a wastewater treatment system in the city.

John Tobit Cruz of Angat Kabataan ng Taytay, on the other hand, presented their organization’s experience in rehabilitating the Maningning Creek in Taytay, Rizal through multi-sectoral participation and the use of innovative technologies. Their effort has become a model being adopted for waterways in Cambodia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Laos, and a creek in Cotabato that is connected to the Agusan Marsh.

“It is important to highlight here that the synergy between different sectors and levels of society is the key in ensuring that the quality of our scarce water resources is improved. We should involve all stakeholders in this endeavour for its sustainability and continued success.” said Evelyn Nacario-Castro, RAFI-EADSC Executive Director.