Clogged canals cause heavy floods in Manila




The Manila Times


THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said that canals clogged with plastic bottles and buildup of grease and oil contributed heavily to flooding in Manila last week. “The declogging operations last year have uncovered a significant amount of plastic bottles and grease and oil buildup along drainage canals in Manila. These were observed to come from business establishments and the wanton disposal of garbage in the streets,” DENR Manila Bay Coordinating Office (MBCO) Director Jacob Meimban said. Based on the data, areas in Metro Manila generate at least 12,500 tons of garbage per day. Quezon City ranked number one with 3,600 tons followed by the cities of Manila and Caloocan, each generating about 1,200 and 913 tons daily, respectively. The DENR through the MBCO held an interagency meeting with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), and the Manila City government to address the flooding. Meimban added that Taft-United Nations, Padre Faura, and Ermita-Malate areas that have experienced heavy flooding last week will be prioritized as these are low-lying and flood-prone areas. “The DPWH and MMDA, with the support of the DENR and city of Manila, are now working on interventions for the declogging of drainage canals, especially in the identified areas,” Meimban added. Meimban said the agency is planning to provide funding for the declogging operations as well as install mobile pumping stations in the Baywalk area, reconstruct floodgates, and devise other flooding interventions in coordination with other government agencies. During the meeting, the DPWH sought assistance from Maynilad Water Services Inc. in the cleanup of drainage lines and disposal of wastes after declogging operations. The DPWH will work on longterm plans to abate flooding around Manila, especially in the city’s lowlying areas by constructing more box culvert canals and pumping stations along T.M. Kalaw and Taft Avenue, in order for the floodwaters to recede immediately. The measures include the construction of additional drainage connection systems and box culverts, construction of pumping stations and interceptors, and equipment to remove wastes clogging the drainage pipes. For his part, DENR Undersecretary for Policy, Planning and International Affairs Jonas Leones said that the holistic design of the Manila Bay rehabilitation already involves mitigating measures to accommodate heavy rains and prevent flooding. “A part of the overall rehabilitation plan is to install mitigating strategies and infrastructures that address flooding. These measures, which are managed by the DPWH and MMDA, are necessary as these ultimately affect the Manila Bay waters,” Leones said.