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DENR-7 mulls canceling clean-up activity in poliovirus-infected Butuanon River

By: Futch Anthony Inso - Correspondent/CDN Digital | February 19,2020 - 08:05 PM

Officials from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources reveal that they might put on hold plans of conducting a river clean-up in the Butuanon River due to the presence of poliovirus in its waters. /Futch Anthony Inso

CEBU CITY, Philippines – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) in Central Visayas might cancel their planned river clean-up activity in the Butuanon River in Mandaue City.

This is after the Department of Health (DOH) has announced that the river tested positive for poliovirus, based on the water samples that they took from the river.

Kay Espinoza, environmental management specialist II from the Ambient Section of EMB-7, said that currently, they are waiting for the directives from their higherups in suspending the coastal clean-up, especially that the activity might put the well being and health of their volunteers at risk.

“Yes, we are considering to put the activity on hold, together with the different stakeholders,” Espinoza said.

DENR-7, together with the EMB-7, is implementing a quarterly coastal clean-up activity in different rivers in the region in line with the agency’s “Rivers for Life program.”

The program covers the Luyang river in the municipality of Carmen, Bulacao river in Cebu City, and Butuanon river in Mandaue City. It also includes the Manaba, Abatan, and Inabanga river in the province of Bohol; Banica, Sicopong and Panam-angan river in Negros Oriental; and Señora river in Siquijor.

The program aims to rehabilitate the said rivers.

According to Mercedita Espinar, planning officer of DENR-7, the agency is also considering requiring volunteers to wear personal protective equipment (PPEs) if ever the agency will push with the river clean-up drive.

“Definitely, we will require them,” Espinar said.

Earlier, Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes issued an order to prohibit the public in going near the Butuanon, and Tipolo rivers and Mahiga creek.  /rcg

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