San Miguel Corp’s. (SMC) massive environment sustainability and flood mitigation initiative to clean up the 27-kilometer Tullahan River system, is shifting to higher gear in December. The company is set to acquire additional new equipment to double its solid waste extraction capacity to 5,000 metric tons per day, it said in a news release.
SMC President Ramon S. Ang said that the company’s commitment to clean up the Tullahan River system is stronger than ever, as the company has made the cleanup of major rivers, one of its foremost sustainability priorities.
Tullahan River ranked No. 4 in the list of the world’s top 10 plastic-emitting rivers responsible for global ocean plastic pollution, according to a 2021 report by research web site ourworldindata.org.
“In just over a year, we’ve made significant progress with our Tullahan River cleanup project. Recently, we reached an important milestone: 414,000 metric tons of solid wastes removed from the river, as of the September 11,” Ang said.
By December 1, he said they are aiming to double the extraction capacity from the current 2,300 to 2,500 MT per day, to 5,000 MT per day.
“We are acquiring six sets of new equipment to do this,” he added.
The company’s river cleanup teams have no let up on work to dredge the 27-kilometer tributary—a P1 billion undertaking fully funded by SMC—as anticipated typhoons are expected to bring heavy rains and, consequently, floods to many parts of Metro Manila.
“Our people continue to work diligently to do cover as much ground as they can, especially since the typhoons are setting in…. We will check and prioritize critical areas that need dredging to minimize flooding,” Ang said.
Besides removing silt and solid wastes, which have accumulated at the bottom of the river for years, SMC also has to increase depth to a maximum of 5 meters, particularly in areas where heavy flooding occurs.
The total 414,000 metric tons of solid waste removed to date, were mostly from the project’s Sectors 4 and 5 in Malabon and Valenzuela, which is part of the project’s initial 11.5-kilometer coverage from the mouth of Manila Bay in Navotas to Valenzuela.
In August, dredging operations also commenced at the Tinajeros area in Malabon
“Our target output for these sectors is over 1 million metric tons and we expect to reach 600,000 metric tons before the year ends,” Ang said.
SMC is gathering data and experience from the project which can be used for its other major river projects, including the clean-up and rehabilitation of the Pasig River and major Bulacan rivers and tributaries.
The company is waiting for the approval of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and of the dredging plan by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), for its P2-billion Pasig River Cleanup project.
For the five-year Pasig River project, SMC aims to extract 50,000 metric tons of silt and solid waste per month, or a yearly output of 600,000 metric tons. Overall, its goal is to remove 3 million metric tons of solid waste from the Pasig River.
Trial dredging was conducted from July to August and more than 20,000 metric tons of dredged material were removed from the Malacañang and Pandacan areas of the river.
The ourworldindata.org, report said Pasig River ranked first in the list of seven Philippine rivers in the world’s top 10 plastic emitting rivers that includes Tullahan River, Meycauayan River, Pampanga River, Libmanan River, Rio Grande de Mindanao and Agno River.