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DENR calls for more action to save Banica River

DUMAGUETE CITY, Negros Oriental, Aug. 8 (PIA) -- The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) here led an environmental forum dedicated to rehabilitating the Banica River, a vital water source that has long served as a lifeline for Dumaguete City as well as Valencia town. 

The forum brought together water stakeholders from various sectors for a unified effort towards revitalizing the river under the R.I.V.E.Rs (Recognizing Individuals/Institutions Towards Vibrant and Enhanced Rivers) for Life Program.

The Banica River, nestled within Dumaguete City, has been a major source of domestic water supply, from public water supply and recreational activities to fisheries and agriculture.

However, during the past few years, the river has faced many challenges, including pollution, habitat degradation, and water quality issues. 

Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer (PENRO) Viernov Grefalde of DENR presented the deteriorating state of the river system of Banica during the forum as called for immediate action to rehabilitate the said river. 

Grefalde shared the initiatives undertaken to clean and rehabilitate the river during the past few years, and added that "if we wanted to maintain a clean river in the long-term, we must adopt committed strategies."

The measures undertaken aim to sustain rehabilitation efforts as well as improve water quality of Banica conducive to propagation of aquatic life, agriculture for irrigation, livestock watering, transportation, and tourism.

Grefalde highlighted the delineation of the Banica River’s current water classification zones, with four key stations that are the Tinago Bridge, BIR, Old Dumpsite, and Candau-ay Bridge, in which water quality analyses are assessed. 

Past efforts, such as river profiling and the launching of the R.I.V.E.Rs for Life Program in February 2019, demonstrated the initial steps toward the river’s revival.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, previous river clean-up drives saw collaborative participation, with partners removing 74 sacks and 598 kgs. of trash from the riverbed.

During the R.I.V.E.Rs for Life Program section, Gerfalde showcased the strategic objectives, emphasizing the recognition of individuals and institutions crucial to its success.

Stakeholders from both the public and private sectors converged to chart out a roadmap for rehabilitation and preservation. 

In an interview, Grefalde acknowledged the pandemic's temporary impact on the rehabilitation efforts but expressed optimism about revitalizing the program.

"It is the most important body of Dumaguete City," Grefalde asserted. "The state of the river reflects how the city behaves." (JCT/PIA7 Negros Oriental with reports from Antoine Duquenne, SU Intern)

Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Viernov Grefalde of DENR presenting the importance of Banica River, during the environmental forum on Aug. 4, 2023 in Dumaguete City. (PIA Negros Oriental)

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Jennifer Tilos


Region 7

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