UP Baguio study backs revitalization of Balili River
BAGUIO CITY, April 29 (PIA) -- The University of the Philippines (UP) Baguio showed its support for the Balili River revitalization by presenting the history of Balili River among barangay officials of the city and La Trinidad, Benguet.
In a planning workshop spearheading the Balili River System Revitalization Coalition (BRSRC), the riverâ€™s history, based on a study conducted by UP students, was presented, also tackling the drivers of pollution in barangays of the city and La Trinindad along the river system.
The Balili River is the biggest river system in Baguio City and La Trinidad, Benguet area.
The historical reconstruction of the river is important for people to be reminded of the paradise lost before pollution took place, according to the newly installed Chancellor Raymundo Rovillos.
"The original state of the river system could never be brought back but what is crucial is to have knowledge on the drivers of pollution that would further aggravate the condition of the river and to prevent all these and bring back closer to what it was before," said Rovillos.
Pollutants are mostly wastes along the Balili river system, mostly from households, and others from small enterprises such as piggeries and slaughter houses.
Rovillos said there is still hope to revitalize and prevent the further deterioration of the Balili River system, citing the case of the Pasig River, Marikina River, and Laguna de bay having worse condition due to pollution from industrial wastes.
The students who undertook a research on the history of the river system were divided into six groups and tackled the precolonization era, and also included the American period, Japanese period, post-war from 1946-1960, 1960-1990, and 1990 to present. "It was a tedious process and students went as far as Manila to research," he said.
Their research was backed up with documents, archives, records, photos including articles in local newspapers. They also undertook interviews with key informants or elderly who have been there and were able to get information about the river as far as they can recall.
Rovillos said testimonies were written by travelers, missionaries, and colonial officials.
The study showed that Balili river used to be a pristine river system with crystal clear waters and was endowed with diverse flora and fauna. "People could even swim and drink its water, but its condition has changed a lot from 1950s to present," Rovillos related.
Based on the findings of the study, with all the developments thriving, overpopulation and urbanization penetrated the area with uncontrolled wastes, coupled with more pronounced urban problems.
Likewise, the kind of tourism during the past years contributed to environmental issues. "Tourists who had no stake in the city do not really care," Rovillos said.
Rovillos said they want to popularize their research on the history of the Balili river through story books, comics, photographs, video documentation, and other forms of information materials for people of the community, youth, leaders to be inspired and for them to appreciate how beautiful Balili river was before.
UP is engaged with the rehabilitation program of the Balili River, together with the BRSRC composed of stakeholders from Baguio City and La Trinidad, Benguet local government units, line agencies, academe, government owned and controlled corporations, non-government organizations, and the private sector. (JDP/SCA-PIA CAR,Benguet)
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