The Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) in Bicol has maintained that three rivers in the region reported earlier as biologically dead are actually not dead at all, according to the agency’s regional official.
Engr. Gilbert Gonzales, DENR-EMB Bicol regional director, recalled that Anayan (Camarines Sur), Malaguit (Camarines Norte) and Panique (Masbate) rivers were earlier reported as biologically dead by media outlets here that prompted uncalled alarm among the residents directly gleaning resources from the rivers.
Gonzales said the bureau has been conducting surveillance, sampling and monitoring of the rivers to verify their status and environmental quality, consequently found out that these rivers remain in fact being utilized by communities along them.
Paracale and Malaguit rivers are classified as Class C waters while Anayan river is listed in Class D waters as stated in the 2009 annual assessment report pursuant to DAO 34 series of 1990.
“This means that these Class C inland waters could be utilized as fishery water for the propagation and growth of fish and other aquatic resources, recreational water (boating etc.) and industrial water supply for manufacturing processes after treatment, meanwhile Class D waters could be utilized for irrigation, agriculture, livestock watering and industrial water supply for cooling, etc, ” Gonzales explained.
Though the average dissolve oxygen (DO) level for Anayan River was 6.3 mg/L, Malaguit River – 7.4 mg/L and Panique River – 7.4 mg/L concentration level respectively, however, pH (basicity and acidity of water), temperature (T) and Total Suspended Solids (TSS) were also considered in the classification and assessment. Results concluded that it passed minimum requirement.
The term biologically dead which likely mean lifeless (anaerobic environment) or zero dissolved oxygen is not applicable in these rivers since as per assessment by the EMB, there are various aquatic livelihood undertakings such as fish cages, aquaculture and crab fattening that are predominant in the area.
Moreover, the bureau assured the public that a more intensive and pro-active program of action is underway to maintain and hopefully elevate these rivers’ environmental quality. (EMB V/PIA)