New Zealand Creamery, Inc. (NZCI), a butter and cheese manufacturing company, is the newest partner in the environment sector’s program to clean up Metro Manila’s waterways.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje today announced that the agency along with Makati City government have entered into partnership with NZCI president Kim Sin Ongkauko to clean up and improve Balisampan Creek in Barangay Guadalupe Viejo, Makati City as part of the government’s Adopt-an-Estero program.

The parties sealed their partnership with the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) Tuesday at the DENR office in Quezon City.

“We are grateful that NZCI has heeded our call to the private sector to help us address the issue of clogged waterways in the metropolis that have been threats to the health and safety of our communities,” said Paje.

The MOA tasks NZCI to decongest Balisampan Creek through surface clean-up and engineering solutions; mobilize and educate surrounding communities; assist in capacity building in coordination with the DENR; and recommend and implement appropriate measures to reduce pollution along the creek. It can also assist in tapping other sponsors and volunteers to extend the length of the pilot site, particularly in dredging and greening measures.

For its part, the DENR, through the National Solid Waste Management Commission which it chairs, and the Environmental Management Bureau, will oversee the implementation of measures in reducing pollution. It will also provide technical assistance in establishing materials recovery facilities and water quality monitoring.

The MOA also tasks the Makati City government to maintain trash traps along the creek, and ensure the proper implementation of ecological solid waste management including segregation and collection in the barangays and among homeowners’ associations.

The program to adopt waterways is a partnership between the public and private sectors to clean up rivers, esteros, creeks and other tributaries of major water bodies to prevent flooding as well as reduce pollution and promote public health, environmental integrity and economic viability.

Since launching the program in 2010, the DENR has gained widespread support from the private sector, other government agencies and local government units as it now has more than 200 partners nationwide committing to clean up waterways in their localities.