The DENR together with its partner people’s organizations, conduct its weekly water cleanup every Fridays as part of the Integrated Natural Resources and Environment Management Program (INREMP).
INREMP is a seven year project which was constructed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to reestablish ecological stability and biodiversity conditions of degraded forest land protected areas in watersheds.
“I want to bring back the time when Chico River was very clean, seeing the people in the river taking a bath and washing their clothes” says Jerry Goddi, Chief of Bontoc Technical Services Division DENR. With the current state of the river, water cleanup should be prioritized.
Further, Goddi enumerated that there are three main causes that pollutes the river. First is the improper garbage disposal. Despite of the implementation of municipal ordinance 824, some of the residents of Bontoc are still not responsive to follow. The said Ordinance mandates the local government units (LGU), Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), schools, Philippine National Police (PNP) to follow and trail the Chico River Program.
Second, they have seen the spillover of insecticide in Agricultural land area along the Halcema high way. Chemicals like insecticide are recognize as serious pollutant to the river. As toxic waste harm one organism, it can end up destroying the entire food chain of the aquatic life. If the toxic waste get washed down to the water base, the fishing activities of the people from Bontoc will be affected.
Third, hog raising activities within the premises of Bontoc pollutes the Chico River because the drainage system constructed is directly going to the flood control in the said river. Waste from these pig farms have the potential to carry pathogens, bacteria, and heavy metals that can be toxic when consumed. Pig wastes causes groundwater pollution that results to mucosal irritation, respiratory ailment, increased stress, decreased quality of life, and higher blood pressure.
Lambert Kisofen Jr., the Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Officer, Stressed that, despite of the collective effort of the LGU, different agencies, and the community, Chico River is still not that safe. Extensive effort of the community is needed to save it. There is still much left to do for the improvement of the river.//Paulo Basilio, BSU-DevCom Intern