RP's first constructed wetland brings clean water to fisher folk


RP's first constructed wetland brings clean water to fisher folk

by Rachelle Nessia

Dumaguete City (12 September) -- Polluted ground water will not be a problem for fisher folks in a resettlement village in Bayawan City with the construction of the first LGU-managed artificial wetland in the country.

Bayawan City holds the distinction of being the first local government unit in the country to construct and manage an artificial wetland that will rid domestic water of organic and toxic pollutants.

The Wastewater Treatment Plant is intended for the fishermen and their families living in the Gawad Kalinga Housing Project in Barangay Villareal, Bayawan City.

There are 700 households in the housing project known as Fishermen's Village.

During the inauguration and turnover ceremony of the project on September 4, Bayawan City Mayor German P. Sarana, Jr. noted that water pollution is one of the biggest problems in the country which resulted to the deaths of many Filipinos.

He hopes that the project will be replicated in other local government units in the province.

Saraņa's sentiment was echoed by Hon. Austere A. Panadero, Assistant Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, who said that the country is wracked by a liquid waste problem yet only few recognize it.

He said that there are only a few liquid treatment facilities in the country as it is very costly.

He lauded Governor George P. Arnaiz for the province's innovative projects especially in the agricultural and health sectors. "If you want a solution to your problem, go to the smart province, Negros Oriental," he quips.

Gov. Arnaiz in his message also urged other local chief executives in the province to acquire their own wetlands similar to that of Bayawan.

He congratulated the Bayawan local government unit and challenged the fishermen beneficiaries of the project to help maintain its cleanliness and safety as well.

The Bayawan city government poured in P10M for the project, which broke ground in June 2005, with the technical assistance provided by the German Technical Cooperation Agency (GTZ).

The constructed wetland covers an area approximately 3,000 square meters.

Andreas Kanzler, Country Director of the German Technical Cooperation Agency (GTZ) described the wetlands as a perfect solution to treat the sewage ofa small community since it is cost effective, easy to maintain and very efficient in the cleaning process.

Director Kanzler said that the technology of constructed wetlands proved to be very successful and reliable in several countries in Asia.

"This technology can address the very serious situation of contamination of the water bodies by untreated waste water in many regions in the Philippines," he said.

The wetland wastewater treatment plant is in line with the government's environmental protection efforts, which are currently geared towards containing the environmental calamity caused by the oil spill from Motor Tanker Solar I off the coast of Guimaras Island.

The Government is relentlessly pushing the continuing clean up, attending to the victims of illness and moving the communities in gathering biodegradable absorbents to soak up the remaining pollutants.

Some 120 people from 60 families living along the contaminated shorelines of Guimaras have been evacuated to safer ground, National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) executive director and Office of Civil Defense (OCD) administrator Glenn Rabonza said.

President Gloria Arroyo already has in hand her blueprint to prevent future oil spills and this is part of the overall program of environmental protection for the country, which will always remain a top national priority.

The Administration expects oil companies and other firms engaged in the transport of oil and chemicals to start coordinating with the Government agencies concerned for the institution of the necessary preventive measures. (PIA)

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