13 October 2017, Manila, Philippines – Over the last two years since assuming operations of LRT-1, Light Rail Manila Corporation (LRMC) has worked to contribute towards the sustainable development of cities and communities through improved safety, comfort and convenience of commuters, with special attention to the needs of women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons.
Last month, with its program Live for the Rivers Movement Coalition, the Company stepped up its commitment by providing livelihood to urban poor communities with the production of Vetiver Grass and Mabuhay Balls and engaging over 800 volunteers to clean up and restore life in Metro Manila’s longest creek, the Estero de Tripa de Gallina (ETG).
LRMC’s Live for the Rivers Movement launched in 2016 to address the river pollution along the ETG. “The Estero de Tripa de Gallina can no longer sustain life,” said LRMC President and CEO Rogelio Singson. “Worse, it flows out to Manila Bay through Pasig River, thereby, contaminating the two large bodies of water that provide food for the population.”
The Coalition includes Pasay City Environment and Natural Resources Office (PCENRO), City of Pasay, City of Paranaque, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the Department of Health (DOH), Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA), Rotary International, the Philippine Coast Guard and the ABS CBN Foundation.
On September 16, a total of 546 volunteers, on foot and on the boats led by Singson, hauled a total of 4,172kilogram of non-biodegradable wastes, installed 16 Vetiver grass pontoons and dropped 220 Mabuhay Balls into the creek.
Vetiver Grass is used worldwide to treat effluents in wastewater. “Over the next few months, we are going to float more vetiver pontoons which will be maintained by the communities and from which they can derive livelihood from its applications in handicrafts and in preventing soil erosion.”
The Mabuhay ball is a tennis ball-sized agent made of beneficial micro-organisms that can break down the toxins and food waste in 1000 liters of polluted water, while the Vetiver grass, when planted along riverbanks, can improve wastewater quality by trapping particles and absorbing pollutants.
Singson noted the importance of the participation of both public and private sectors. “This estero is everyone’s responsibility. We are glad to see that our efforts have set more actions from the residents who are most affected by the environmental dangers brought about by waste materials and other pollutants in the estero.”
In addition to the livelihood training and cleanup of the ETG, over 200 Live for the Rivers volunteers travelled all the way from Pasay City to plant about 2,000 propagules in one day at the Lagadlarin Mangrove Forest in Lobo, Batangas.
“This is the first time that we are planting mangrove propagules, and we’re thrilled to have made such impact already, especially to the residents of Lobo, Batangas,” Singson shared. “We hope that this measure will encourage residents to take more actions to preserve and protect the environment.”