June 19, 2018, 4:34 pm
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How polluted is that estero near you?

THERE are around 273 waterways (esteros) in the metro alone, according to Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA). It is not uncommon to see polluted waterways, but as to how polluted they are should be a cause for concern. Under the international standards for pollution, the acceptable most probable number (MPN) should be less than one up to less than 10 MPN.

The Conga Creek in Taguig, Metro Manila spans around 300 meters with 28 B MPN/100ml reading of Coliform and 0 oxygen water analysis – meaning that the pollution is way beyond the acceptable limit that it used up all the oxygen. Under such condition, no fish would ever survive because they would have to compete with hundreds of billions of bacteria.

The Department of Science and Technology-National Capital Region (DOST-NCR) recently embarked on a collaborative undertaking with the local government of Taguig City and other government agencies to help clean up the Conga Creek to achieve a cleaner, safer and healthier metropolitan environment.

“DOST-NCR aims not only to help in clean-ups of the creek but also help empower the communities through the Community Empowerment thru Science and Technology (CEST). The objective of the program is to help boost the areas on Economic Development, Health and Nutrition, Human Resource Development, Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation and Environmental Protection and Conservation,” says DOST-NCR Director Jose B. Patalinjug III.

Conga Creek is among the 48 creeks under the Adopt an Estero Program of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and other agencies (private and government).

The other partners in the Conga Creek cleanup are the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Health (DOH) under the Adopt an Estero Program. 

Filtered water using the SBR technology is able to comply, and even exceed, the DENR’s effluent standard in biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) of 50 mg per liter. BOD is a measure of how much oxygen is needed to allow for waste’s decomposition; the lower the better.

Filipino-owned Ecosystem Technologies Inc. (ESTII) is urging local government units (LGUs) to invest in water treatment and recycling to help conserve water and help save Metro Manila’s dying rivers. Michael C. Rubio, ESTII director for business development, said LGUs can help conserve water by putting up small wastewater-treatment plants to recycle water from esteros and rivers, instead of using tap water.

“Imagine how much water you can save if you use recycled water. Using recycled water can help us conserve water coming from Angat. Modern cities have been using water recycled from rivers and domestic discharge for non-potable needs such as garden and cleaning. In London, such water is referred to as Grey Water. ESTII offers its technology to build wastewater-treatment plants to other LGUs through public-private partnerships (PPPs).

Since most residential and commercial buildings, particularly in highly urbanized cities like in the National Capital Region (NCR), do not have a wastewater-treatment facility, LGUs can invest by building their own through clustering, to significantly reduce pollutants from wastewater draining to water bodies. ESTII believes that growth in both the population and in the industry will have drastic consequences on the environment, as the country did not have the ability to treat its liquid waste.

ESTII said that through its SBR technology, reflecting an approach of localized or on-site treatment has allowed developers to become responsible for environmentally sustainable operations, despite the deficiencies of centralized sanitation services.

“It improved on this technology in terms of performance and reduction of physical footprint, now called the sequence bioreactor, being awarded a series of patents for its innovations,” Rubio said. From using the large, conventional activated sludge treatment plants, the company shifted to SBR and noted that in the rise of the property-development industry at the end of the last decade, the SBR became the preferred sewage-treatment plant solution.

The company’s track record in wastewater treatment is recognizable by the over 500 completed design and build projects of used water-treatment plants, including 18 hospitals, over 200 residential/mixed-use development projects, and over 150,000 cubic meters of contaminated water treated every day.

For more info: Lilibeth Padilla, Public Affairs Unit, Communication Resources & Production Division, Science & Technology Information Institute, Department of Science and Technology (DOST-STII), Tel: 837-2192 / 837-2071 (loc 2142), Mobile no: 0949-303-9998 / 0927-432-2774 / 0932-623-6673


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