The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) here in partnership with the provincial government of Bulacan and the local government of Malolos City launched recently the Bulacan River System Cleanup Project in an effort to protect communities from flooding as the onset of southwest monsoon or “habagat” takes place and in support of the cleanup and rehabilitation of the historic Manila Bay.

Paquito Moreno, executive director of the DENR in Central Luzon, said the province-wide project will administer dredging activities in the major river systems and other tributaries in Bulacan.

"Dredging creeks is imperative to sustain the cleanup and rehabilitation efforts of Manila Bay. And through this, we can remove solid wastes at pinch point areas, and allow water to flow freely," he explained.

He said project will start in the 4.6-km Apulid creek in Longos village in Malolos where heavy siltation was observed.  

Apulid creek is one of the water tributaries in Malolos which is directly connected to the larger Sto. Niño River, a major river system that drains directly to Manila Bay.

The project will also reduce the risk of flooding in the province especially during habagat season since dredging allows the creeks and rivers to carry larger volume of water, Moreno added.

For his part, Bulacan Governor Daniel Fernando vowed his support to the project, adding that the activity will reduce overflowing of water in flood-prone areas and at same time can protect lives, properties and infrastructures.

“The fight to protect the environment does not stop in dredging alone, it also entails self-discipline especially on proper waste management,” he said.

The Governor also urged local residents not to make creeks or “estero” as garbage dumpsites and asked them to help and support the government in the cleaning efforts.

Since the Manila Bay rehabilitation program started on January this year, the DENR has conducted a total of 325 cleanup drives in Bulacan, Pampanga, and Bataan and has collected more than 400,000 kilograms of wastes.

The rehabilitation of 190-km stretch of Manila Bay covers the regions of CALABARZON, National Capital Region and Central Luzon. Of this, 144 kilometers or merely two-thirds of the total stretch is part of Central Luzon.