By Alexander Villafania
MALOLOS, BULACAN – A total of P1.9 billion will be needed for a major rehabilitation project of the Bulacan River, according to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in Central Luzon.
The project will include dredging the river and the Marilao-Meycauayan-Obanso River System (MMORS) that spans at least 43 kilometers.
It will also help improve a 30-kilometer dike to help relocate informal settlers along the river.
The DPWH made the proposal amid calls by Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino Alvarado seeking assistance in rehabilitating the Bulacan River.
The heavily silted river is among the 30 most polluted rivers in the world listed by New-York based environmental watchdog Blacksmith Institute.
Alvarado stressed the urgency to rehabilitate the heavily-polluted and silted Bulacan River as it flows directly to Manila Bay. A sanitary landfill would be needed to properly handle the dredged materials.
Heavy metals such as mercury, lead, and arsenic, are being dumped into the river by numerous industrial plants along its banks.
“This project needs a strong political will to succeed. We also need to put everything in due process, make public consultation and proper information dissemination particularly in the matter of relocating the settlers within the riverbanks,” Alvarado said.