‘Crazy 4’ saves creek

By Marian Z. Codilla |October 15,2015 - 02:00 AM

JOHN Tobit Cruz and three of his friends called themselves “the crazy four.”

Cruz said they dreamed of saving the earth by starting with the 3-kilometer stretch of Maningning creek in Taytay City, Rizal province in Luzon.

Their weapon, which they called “Fantasticks,” was an improvised cleaning gear made out of the grill of a damaged electric fan attached to a bamboo stick. They used this to pick garbage from the creek.

Soon, they were able to invite more “crazy” people in the neighborhood to help. The group grew into what is now known as the Angat Kabataan ng Taytay.

Cruz, who is the president of the group, said they successfully cleaned up the creek.

What used to be heavily silted, dark and smelly is now home to some fresh water fish. Bamboo shrubs grow along the banks, preventing soil erosion.

With the lessons they learned, Angat Kabataan ng Taytay is now helping some cities in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia, and the Philippines manage and restore their polluted rivers.

“Our rivers and creeks are a reflection of our community. We have to make people aware to get them involved, to level up and be more innovative in their ideas to clean the rivers,” Cruz said at the Understanding Choices Forum of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. last week.

Engineer Cindylyn Pepito, environmental management specialist of Environment Management Bureau-7, said that in order to address environmental pollution problems, there is a need to address the cultural barrier that is polluting the minds of the people.

“We have a lot of people discharging effluents in the rivers and they do not know that they are polluting the environment,” Pepito said.

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