The Department of Natural Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is considering to tap fisherfolk in controlling the growth of water hyacinths or water lilies in major waterways, particularly in Pasig River and Laguna de Bay.

The problem on the proliferation of water hyacinth was among the issues tackled when Environment Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units (LGUs) Concerns Benny D. Antiporda met with members of the Manila Bay Anti-Pollution Task Force (APTF) last March 11 to discuss the ongoing rehabilitation of Manila Bay.

The proliferation of the invasive water species is known to cause major obstruction to smooth flow of navigation along waterways.

Antiporda, who is the head of the Manila Bay APTF, directed the members of the task force to prioritize the removal of the water hyacinth in Pasig River and Laguna de Bay.

A sub-committee on water hyacinth was then created to control and minimize the growth of the water plant while the Manila Bay APTF will also look into the possibility of employing the services of local fisherfolk to harvest water lilies.

"We want to make a drastic change in the quality of water in Manila Bay," Antiporda said as he stressed the objective of the task force, which is to complement the actions of DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu as chair of the Manila Bay Task Force.

"To see is to believe, to smell is to believe and to test is to believe," he said, reminding its members of the task force's three main goals, which are also the parameters in saying that we already won our Battle for Manila Bay.

Antiporda pointed out that one of the task force's target is to ensure that no floating debris will be seen along Manila Bay and its tributaries.

"With the improvement of the water quality, there should also be no foul odor coming from the bay," Antiporda said.

"Most important is the drastic change of the water quality in Manila Bay," he emphasized.

He also instructed the Manila Bay (APTF) members to establish an effective monitoring system that has "complete standard operating procedure with corresponding timeline" to ensure the compliance of "environmental polluters."

"We need to double up our effort in running after them. We will deal with them head-on," Antiporda stressed. ###