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Baguio water cleaner during quarantine

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Baguio, the country's Summer Capital, is bereft of tourists due to travel bans and quarantine protocols.

BAGUIO CITY—Water quality here improved during the eight weeks that human activity was restrained because of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

City Environment and Parks Management Officer (CEPMO) officer in charge Rhenan Diwas said they recorded marked improvement in the wastewater of the 34-year-old Baguio Sewerage Treatment Plant (BSTP) in Barangay Sanitary Camp.

Based on the test conducted by the CEPMO-Wastewater, Water and Air Monitoring Division (WAMD), wastewater influent (raw) in February 2020 reached almost maximum level at 8,557.18 m3/day but suddenly dropped at 4,369. 97 m3/day a month later.

The wastewater quality also improved and now falls within the standards set under Department of Environment and Natural Resources Administrative Order 1990-35 (Effluent Standards for Different Water Quality Parameter and DAO 2016-08 (Water Quality Guidelines and General Effluent Standards).

Diwas said the improvement can be attributed to decreased population as most tourists, university students and boarders and migrant workers left the city at the onset of the ECQ.

The city is usually packed with tourists in February because of the Panagbenga Festival, which was canceled this year.

“The closure of majority of commercial activities, like restaurants, and limited operation of public market and slaughter house were seen as contributory to the less turbid wastewater discharges,” Diwas said.

Diwas said that while population and economic activities are the major factors of environmental pollution, these, too, are recognized forces that boost the city’s economy thus he suggested measures to balance human activities and environmental sustainability.

The city government through CEPMO will continue plans to pursue the rehabilitation and upgrading of the BSTP to expand its coverage to other barangays; continue the rehabilitation of sewer lines; improve Septage Management System, which include additional Septage Facility; rehabilitate the public market to include its own sewerage facility; and the transfer of the slaughter house outside the business district and to include a sewerage facility for animal waste.

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