MMDA starts cleaning esteros, creeks this April

March 31, 2014 9:24 am 

By Christopher Lloyd T. Caliwan

MANILA, March 30 (PNA) — The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is set to start its estero blitz aimed at cleaning up esteros and creeks in the metropolis.

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said the “Estero Blitz” will start in Navotas next month (April) in preparation for the onset of the rainy season and is expected to last until May.

Under the project, MMDA personnel will clear waterways of garbage and conduct fumigation in areas infested by mosquitoes.

The MMDA’s “Estero Blitz” campaign, involves declogging and dredging of creeks and drainages in flood-prone areas in Metro Manila. It was launched on August 2011 as a means to prevent massive flooding.

Tolentino said the project will also involve the Department of Health and city health offices in clearing the canals.

He said they will start cleaning first the waterways in Valenzuela this week.

"We will try to convince the DOH and health officers to get involved in the project so that they will help in defogging our creeks which became the breeding ground of mosquitoes," Tolentino said during the agency's weekly radio program.

Meanwhile, Tolentino blamed informal settler families (ISFs), who had built their homes right on top of creeks and rivers and turned them into dumps.

For her part, Engineer Emma Quiambao, director of the MMDA's Sewerage Management Office (SMO) urged ISFs to also take part in the campaign.

"If we are busy cleaning up esteros and creeks, ISFs should also take part by voluntarily leaving their shanties," she added.

Quiambao asked the informal settlers not to return near the waterways once they are relocated.

“Maraming nakita sa creek na informal settlers na bumabalik. Nakikiusap kami sa mga informal settlers na malapit sa estero kaugnay sa problema sa basura. Kung kami ho ay maglilinis, sana yung mga informal settlers naman po ay lumikas," she explained.

Quiambao said the informal settlers near the creeks are the reason behind the truckloads of garbage and the clogging of drainages.

Informal settlers are known to throw garbage directly in the canals.

The MMDA chief said local government units (LGUs) are the ones responsible in relocating ISFs who are living along waterways and creeks.

Residents in some parts of Metro Manila are complaining of big mosquitoes swarming their area.

But the Department of Health Program Manager on Dengue and Emerging Infectious Diseases said these mosquitoes are nevertheless an indication of a lack of cleanliness in the infested areas. (PNA)

CTB/CLTC/RSM

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