Improvements of Waterways in the Philippines


For too long the waterways of the Philippines have been grossly contaminated through activities including local uses, commercial discharges, stormwater run-off, discharge of untreated sewage, recreational activities and the like. It's been recognised that for medical and security of both the folks of the Philippines and the safeguard of the environment for our future generations it's important that a strategy be established to start the enormous task of going back our waterways to an excellent that complies if not surpasses international requirements. Water just about everywhere is a very valuable product and an essential aspect in sustaining life. For this reason we must become a community to ensure that people returning our waterways back again to a standard we can be pleased with. Because of this DENR will embark on a strategy which has one sole aim which is to


This discussion doc provides a short outline on items that should be considered if the objective of Clearing up the waterways of the Philippines is to be realised.


In any strategy it is critical that there are several possibilities to the community to enable these to successfully put into action the strategy and therefore achieve the objective. So in summarising some of the targets DENR will consider the utilization of an waterways hierarchy as shown below. The waterways hierarchy simply details the choice of options with avoidance being the best option and disposal being minimal favourable. This analogy is dependant on the international specifications for cleaner creation and waste materials minimisation which in the end encourage that producing no waste is preferable to managing the waste products that is generated.






In setting up these options thought was given towards how these could be employed against a waterways hierarchy and the practicalities of utilizing the options regarding interpersonal, financial and environmental signals.


3. 1 Regulatory Framework

The Philippines already has established several regulations pertaining to the management of waterways and the required quality that should be achieved by Industry and the city to guarantee the waterways are safeguarded. However, consideration must get towards conditioning this legislation by handling the following:

  • Trade Waste products Management (licensing and consumer will pay system for industry discharging to the sewerage system)
  • Littering
  • Sewage plant release into inland and coastal waterways
  • Management of Sewage spills and unauthorised discharges
  • Algal bloom and nutritional management strategy
  • Heavy fines for offenders
  • Mandatory monitoring
  • Establishment of Key Performance Indicators and Government focuses on for wastewater recycling and reuse.

The above are just a few items that have to be considered in greater detail in order to ensure that the regulatory framework is in destination to oblige the city to execute and continue to adhere to the strategy.

3. 2 Education, Training and Community Awareness

Technology only cannot solve all problems. For this strategy to reach your goals it must have obtained possession from the community. They must be familiar with their obligations with respect to the waterways hierarchy and we should notify the Philippines community how it can contribute for the clean-up of the waterways.

This calls for education programs both at a junior college level to engrain the importance of waterways and keeping them clean to ensure that the near future generations all the mistake of time for the old ways. The education programs need to likewise incorporate local communities and industries so that they can see that there surely is a better way and this throwing that paper on the floor, or discharging untreated sewage in the river can make their life worse. We have to instruct our community to demand a higher standard of living especially in relation to waterways and suggest to them the benefits that a clean waterway can deliver. Things like better health, no rotten smell, increased travel and leisure, better aesthetics, improved economic development and so on.

Training environmental experts and industry leaders that pollution is bad business and that any dumping or improper discharge into a waterway will have ramifications not limited to the neighborhood environmental officer but also for the senior officers of the business. These ramifications can include increased fines, bad publicity and in extreme situations imprisonment.

Community understanding through targeted advertising campaigns could also obtain the message out. Adopting a community day one per year where the whole of Philippines gets mutually to clean in the waterways and the environment can perform instant success and community delight that people all got together to boost our lives. Programs like these have been successfully implemented international such as "Tidy up Australia". There is absolutely no reason there cannot be a clean-up Philippines.

3. 3 Source Reduction Avoidance

The first point in the waterways hierarchy is avoidance. This implies eliminating polluting dischargers from the waterway itself. This includes industrial dischargers that are adding the industrial waste products directly into inland waterways. Where in fact the avoidance of the discharge cannot be achieved then industry should be asked to ensure that the product quality, through recycling and treatment at the discharge, meets strict release criteria.

Avoiding the release of untreated sewage whether it is from inadequate wastewater treatment plants or direct discharge from the city. These inputs must be avoided or eliminated from being discharged into waterways as they can ruin a river system, generate unwanted odours, pass on undesirable disease and the like.

3. 4 Sewerage Management

One of the issues encountered in the Philippines is the issue of laying collection and sewer tube infrastructure to enable wastewater in the form of sewage to be accumulated to a central location for treatment and removal. Because of this it is vital that a variety of options become available that can suit the varying topography and provincial needs of the Philippines. This can be achieved in two ways:

  • Localised treatment vegetation that control localised moves typically from 2. 5KL/day to 40KL/day
  • Medium measured Membrane bioreactor (MBR) technology typically from 40KL/day to 500KL/day
  • Centralised wastewater systems based on MBR technology for areas where collection and laying tube infrastructure is not too difficult. Examples of such vegetation are shown below:

Localised wastewater treatment vegetation CWT

Medium measured Plants

Large MBR treatment vegetation (45ML/Day)

Typical effluent quality

The quality of the cured water from these treatment plant life will permit reuse of this drinking water for flushing toilets, irrigation, and industrial reuse and other non-consumption activities.

3. 5 Surprise Drinking water Run-off Management

There are several issues associated with the run-off and discharge of stormwater. These issues include assortment of litter, essential oil and grease and other pollutants from roadways that then is discharged in to the river system. Stormwater can also cause hydraulic overload and so wash away fine sand and silt in to the river. The silt and fine sand could contain heavy metals or other contaminants that will ultimately wrap up in the sediments of the river foundation potentially creating undesired conditions for aquatic kinds. Furthermore, the discharge of high levels of nitrogen collected from fertilisers and other similar functions will run-off in to the river system and this contribute to the toxicity or provide enough conditions for Algal Blooms to form.

To alleviate this problem source control of run-off is vital. This will be a combination of better infrastructure, stormwater capture and treatment of stormwater before release in to the river. This must be been able in light of stormwater hydraulics especially as many parts of the Philippines are at the mercy of severe flooding. So treatment of say the first flush of stormwater and this particular is discharged right to the river system bypassing the procedure. This program will treat the most polluted portion of the stormwater but not restrict flow significantly to become further reason behind flooding.

In taking a look at stormwater treatment there are four factors, these are reduction, at source control, in-line buildings and wetland/overflow plains. Unfortunately not one of these systems in isolation can solve all the issues so wach system must be integrated in synergy.

Some mitigation options that can be implemented include:

  • Grate and entrance screens
  • Side accessibility pit traps
  • Baffled pits
  • Litter collection baskets
  • Boom diversion systems
  • Release nets
  • Trash racks
  • Gross pollutant trap
  • Circular screens
  • Floating Particles Traps

Some types of these systems are shown below:

Cleaning is the most crucial issue in the utilisation of these systems and sufficient maintenance programs need to form area of the strategy of putting in any form of Stormwater treatment and management system.

3. 6 Emergency Response and Spill Management

In any strategy that discusses the clean-up of waterways there must be an element to handle the unforseen spillage that occur on a regular basis. The problem facing DENR is how it may become aware of these and how to use appropriate mitigation options to safeguard human health insurance and the environment from such occasions.

It is therefore critical that a system will be established that means that spillages to the surroundings are reported, that there is a plan for containment and that this containment may then provide enough time to determine an appropriate response for the economic clean up of the spill. Too often in disaster response companies and regulators dash to toss all options into the resolution of such events that the end result is often created a larger problem than the spill itself. A vintage example of this is when dispersants are being used for the management of petrol spills. The dispersant has really only 1 option, alter the surface tension of normal water so as to make the olive oil miscible with this inflatable water and thus render the petrol spill out of brain out of site. In reality what dispersants do is prolong the inevitable that is contamination of sea beds and shoreline lines. In virtually all situations the essential oil spill will require more clean up at the shoreline due to the fact that waterway conditions have changed and the engine oil is now no longer miscible thus creating a similar situation several kilometres from the original spill location.

Thus any crisis response management system must package with spill elimination, containment and removal not dilution. An example of alternative essential oil spill product you can use instead of dispersants is Cleanmag. The product is briefly complete below:

CleanMag can be an oil sorbing materials by means of magnetic granules. It is a porous material so the oil is absorbed upon contact with the CleanMag materials at ratios of 1 1:6 (1 'CleanMag' 6 essential oil by weight). Due to a magnetic connections all granules stay mutually forming a crust, which floats even after the oil has been soaked up and can be gathered prior to the spill reaches the shoreline. Where the material does reach the coastline, the oil does not drip out anticipated to strong cohesion onto the CleanMag, thus eliminating the devastating environmental influences normally associated with olive oil spills reaching delicate coastlines.

The material and essential oil can be collected even times after CleanMag has been dispersed over the spill (by aerial or naval means), by using a magnetic conveyor belt or electromagnetic cranes mounted onto the collecting vessel (i. e. ship or tug). If the oil spill prolong to a big surface area 'CleanMag' can be sprayed on the boarders of the spill, thus creating a barrier and avoiding oil dispersion. This helps slow down the rate of extension of the surface of the spill and for that reason creates additional time for the tidy up procedure to be conducted. This time around is important as it could enable more impressive recovery options that are less costly to the operator and moreover minimize environmental penalties associated with such spillages, as the effect on the environment and areas is minimized.

3. 7 Sediment clean-up

Finally after the sources of air pollution have been comprised and managed awareness should then get to dredging the sediments of the waterways with a view to taking away the contaminants which may have accumulated over several years. The final steps is essential as the benefits of discharging clean high quality water that into the waterways system from the source control options described earlier will not be realised. The reason for this is usually that the sediments will release contaminants and pollute the clean water. By cleaning these sediments it offers and opportunity for the life to return back again to the waterway, free from pollution.

So as a very pleased community enables CLEAN-UP THE WATERWAYS OF THE PHILIPPINES.

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