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MMDA starts dredging of esteros, collects 1,200 tons of trash in 4 days

By Pat C. Santos
08/13/2011 [ tribune.net.ph ]

Some 1,200 tons of garbage were collected in just four days of dredging operation of esteros of Metro Manila being undertaken by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).

Dubbed “August Estero Blitz,” a total of 173 truckloads of waste and silt, or about 1,200 tons, have been dredged from the eight creeks the MMDA’s Flood Control and Sewerage Management Office (FCSMO) has so far cleaned up since the campaign started last Monday, August 8, the agency reported.

“In only four days we have collected over 1,000 tons of garbage… Imagine the volume of waste that has been clogging our drainage,” MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said.

Accumulated garbage and silt limits the carrying capacity of waterways, resulting in floods during heavy rains, Tolentino added.

The Estero Blitz started last Monday at Tripa de Gallina and Sta. Clara creeks that straddle the cities of Makati, Manila and Pasay. MMDA workers collected 35 truckloads of waste along the entire 10,933-meter length of these waterways.

Next were the 12.80-meter wide Estero de Quiapo/San Miguel/San Sebastian creeks in Manila where 33 truckloads of waste were dredged and disposed of at garbage disposal facilities.

On Wednesday, there were 29 truckloads of similar waste collected from Estero de Pandacan/Concordia, also in Manila.

The highest volume of collected garbage and silt came from Pinagsabugan and Longos creeks in Malabon where 76 truckloads were dredged last Thursday.

Yesterday, personnel from FCSMO and Metro Parkway Clearing Group were deployed in Navotas City to clean up the R-10 Open Canal and Spine Creek. The clean-up operation was ongoing as of noon.

There are a total of 8,128 families of informal settlers living along these eight creeks.

Tolentino said the August Estero Blitz will be carried out until September 8, targeting two esteros per day.

On Monday, August 15, the MMDA will dredge Estero de Vitas/De la Reina/Kabulusan in Manila.

The August Estero Blitz is an offshoot of the MMDA’s successful “480 Minutes Cleanup Drive” which took place last July 24 and participated in by 8,000 MMDA personnel and volunteers who cleaned Metro Manila’s eight identified flood-prone areas.

A study previously conducted by the agency showed that flooding in Metro Manila is caused by the limited capacity of existing esteros, diversion channels, creeks and other waterways as a result of indiscriminate dumping of garbage.
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