Tullahan River can be transport route: DENR exec

By Catherine Teves

February 18, 2019, 8:15 am

MANILA -- Once the Tullahan River is cleaned up, it can be developed as an alternative transport route for people and goods to ease traffic on Metro Manila's streets, an official of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said.

"If we can clean up and revive Tullahan River, this waterway can serve that purpose," DENR Undersecretary Jonas Leones said recently.

He made the assessment after inspecting the river this month in preparation for its cleanup, one of the activities for rehabilitating the Manila Bay.

Tullahan River flows from Quezon City to the cities of Valenzuela and Malabon before discharging into Manila Bay.

The cities are some of the country's centers of population, trade and industry -- highlighting Tullahan River's potential as an alternative transport route.

Leones cited several examples of waterways that are helping promote mobility. He said waterways in Venice, Italy still provide the means for transporting people and goods, Singapore has river transportation, and Thailand has floating markets.

"Using waterways as transport routes can be done," he said.

The DENR has set the dredging of the Tullahan River beginning this year to remove silt and trash that accumulated over the years. The debris continues to pollute water, reducing water-carrying capacity and impeding water flow.

Accumulation of silt and trash also affected the biodiversity of the Tullahan River, Leones added.

"If we clean up that river, there's a chance for species to eventually live there again," he said.

Leones acknowledged the difficulty of cleaning up the Tullahan River due to the extent of environmental degradation. He expressed gratitude to San Miguel Corp. for offering to undertake the cleanup, as the DENR welcomed assistance of the private sector in Manila Bay's rehabilitation.

The rehabilitation involves cleaning up Manila Bay itself and its tributaries, relocating informal settlers, and educating the public on solid waste management. (PNA)