The floods and strong rains were not enough to stop four local government units (LGUs) around Manila Bay from becoming the first recipients of trash boats from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Receiving the trash boats through a deed of donation were Mayor Alfredo Lim of Manila, Mayor Antolin Oreta III of Malabon City, Mayor Orencio Gabriel of Obando in Bulacan, and Engr. George Fojasand of Cavite’s Provincial Government - Environment and Natural Resources Office, representing Governor Jonvic Remulla, during turnover ceremonies held Saturday at the Plaza Mexico in Intramuros, Manila.
DENR Undersecretary Demetrio Ignacio, Jr., representing Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje, said the trash boats were purchased by its Manila Bay Coordinating Office (MBCO) to help LGUs clean up their rivers of floating trash and implement solid waste management. “The four is an initial batch. The DENR will acquire 20 more within the year, and these will be distributed to different LGUs as part of our efforts to clean up Manila Bay and its tributaries,” he said.
Under the terms of the Deed of Donation, the LGU will provide for the needed manpower and funds for the operation and maintenance of the boat. The LGU shall also collect garbage at least twice a week or as needed; submit to the Site Management Office of the DENR’s Manila Bay Coordinating Office a report on the volume and composition of the collected trash, as well as a record of maintenance service of the boat; and ensure proper disposal of garbage as required under Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.
Oreta and Gabriel were particularly pleased with the trash boats, saying that these would be “a big help” in cleaning up their waterways and reduce flooding in their areas.
Each 30-feet long trash boat is worth more than P1.7 million pesos, flat-bottomed for stability, and designed to be maneuverable in small waterways. It is equipped with a rotating rake-like device that can scoop up to three tons of garbage floating at a maximum depth of three feet. The garbage is dumped onto the deck, where it is manually segregated into sorting bins before being transported to the appropriate disposal facility.
Each boat comes with its own set of tools and a one-year service warranty from the local manufacturer. The MBCO had already trained boat operators provided by the LGUs in preparation for the turnover.
The trash boats were presented to President Aquino during the DENR’s silver anniversary celebration at the Malacañang Palace last June 19.
MBCO Director Noel Gaerlan said that aside from the 24 trash boats, the DENR is also planning to purchase bigger boats to skim floating trash along Manila Bay.