Zamboanga’s cesspools Print
Monday, 16 April 2018 13:51

LOOKING IN

BY ROD BALBON

Long before President Duterte declared that Boracay Beach is turning to be a cesspool that has to be cleaned up and rehabilitated, our Tumaga, Tugbungan, Sucabon rivers, to include the Cawa-Cawa Beach, have long been turned into cesspools. Their riverbanks are inhabited by people who built their houses sans the consent and knowledge of the City Government and lot owners. They are illegally squatting in these portions of land that prohibits the building of houses and other permanent structures. These squatters are also responsible in transforming the above-mentioned rivers into cesspools by dumping their wastes and garbage directly into these rivers that gush out to the sea thereby polluting, destroying and killing seaweeds, fishes, seashells, and other sea creatures. Add to these are establishments that likewise do the same practice. They likewise are the primary cause of river pollution and flashfloods that occur in many areas in the city when these rivers overflow.

This has been practiced by these squatters and business establishments for several decades now and unfortunately, our City Government and the affected barangays have remained blind and unmindful in implementing measures against the unsanitary dumping of wastes and garbage and imposing stiff penalties for their violations.

This is very lamentable since many decades ago, many people would still bathe and do the washing of their clothes in these rivers. In the case of Cawa-Cawa Beach, many city residents would then spend their whole day picnics in its clean and unpolluted waters. Their waters now are now extremely dirty and stinking which is obnoxious to our respiratory system and health.

This environmental degradation can be arrested by the joint efforts of concerned citizens with the city government. First and foremost, our city government should make a serious study and formulate a plan to relocate those living along riverbanks and impose a new disposal and drainage to those living and making business near the beach. They must be stopped from throwing their wastes and garbage directly to the rivers and to the sea. They are the culprits that pollute these rivers and seas with impunity, unmindful of the harmful effects and variety of unhealthy diseases they create.

We can then form a group composed of respectable and concerned members of the community, church, schools, health and environmental groups united for the purpose of initiating the project to clean these rivers and beach to restore ecological balance and cleanliness for all. This group must be funded by the City Government and should be done pronto. Restoring cleanliness and ecological balance require firm resolve rather than palliative measures. It must be sustained and done regularly as this is a very important undertaking. For what good are clean-ups if we don’t sustain these efforts? Once these houses and business establishments, that are the main source of effluents are relocated and the joint efforts of the citizens’ group and City Government is not enough, the latter should bear the cost of building a waste management and disposal system. Forget the cost.

Our city is now being constantly flooded and the question is: When are we going to solve it? Time will come when not only our rivers and seas but the entire city will become a cesspool and nobody wants to suffer its consequences.