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P5-B flood-control project no match for garbage

/ 01:36 AM June 14, 2013

With phase one of the Camanava (Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas and Valenzuela) flood-control project nearly complete and phase two halfway done, will Malabon and its neighboring areas finally enjoy a respite from the perennial problem of flooding should another “Ondoy”-like typhoon hit the metropolis?

Not necessarily, Malabon’s chief engineer said on Thursday as he explained that the pumping stations which were built under the first phase of the over P5-billion project were not as work efficient as they would like these to be because of the garbage being thrown by residents into waterways.

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According to Edgardo Yanga, the trash which comes from depressed areas gets stuck in the pumps near the Tullahan River which serves as a catch basin for waterways on top of floodwater coming from nearby Bulacan province and Quezon City.

The river then passes through Malabon and Navotas before it reaches Manila Bay.

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Yanga said that when the garbage piles up, the pumps cannot operate. He cited several instances in the past wherein the “big” pumping stations in Barangays Catmon and Tanza in nearby Navotas shut down automatically amid heavy rains.

“A big part of the flooding problem would have been solved with the operation (of pumping stations under the Camanava project), but because of the garbage, there’s still flooding,” he said.

Yanga added that even the pumping stations built by the city government have had to be manually shut down when excess water can’t get through the pumps because of plastic bags.

On the other hand, government agencies, including the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, have been regularly conducting declogging operations only to have their efforts negated because people keep on throwing garbage into waterways, he said.

“Everyone should be made aware of this so something can be done,” Yanga added.

He said the DPWH had allotted P250 million for the dredging of the Tullahan River to solve the problem of “excessive siltation.”

Bong Padua, Malabon chief public information officer, said the Camanava project has not been as effective in preventing flood as local officials thought it would be.

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But hopefully, this would improve with the ongoing repair and elevation of existing dikes under the next phase of the project, he added.

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TAGS: Caloocan City, Camanava, Flood, Garbage, Malabon City, Manila, Navotas City, P5-B flood-control project, Typhoon Ondoy, Valenzuela City
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