Issue of December 3, 2017
     
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Benguet
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2017
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Bamboos to be used to prop up & to beautify Bued River banks
by Hanna C. Lacsamana

The vegetation cover down the length of the heavily silted Bued River in Kennon Road will soon be thriving with bamboo grasses as part of major efforts planned for the river’s cleanup and rehabilitation.

Environment Sec. Roy A. Cimatu recently instructed to the Environment Management Bureau Cordillera to tidy up Bued River, whose headwaters are located in Baguio City traversing 25 of its barangays, and flow toward eight other towns of Benguet, La Union, and Pangasinan.

The river is heavily silted and contaminated as it has been the drainage of mine tailings from copper and gold mines in Baguio and Tuba, Benguet. In Baguio, it runs along very steep cliffs and embankments making reforestation of its vegetation areas impossible as observed from aerial monitoring using drones.

EMB OIC Regional Director Reynaldo S. Digamo on Tuesday said a one-hectare bambusetum that will serve as a source of planting materials will be set up through the Watershed and Water Resources Research Center (WWRRC) for the re-greening and growth of Bued River’s flora.

He said the WWRRC was able to identify embankments that are suitable for planting and will adopt bamboo to populate its forest cover.

“We will enhance the vegetative cover of the riverbanks using bamboo. Secretary Cimatu has special orders on Bued as this water body is the first to be seen by motorists when going to Baguio through Kennon Road. Whether local or foreign tourists, it is imperative that they will see a river that is clean and with pleasing scenery,” Digamo said.

The Baguio City-based WWRRC has been promoting the propagation and use of bamboo, a tall tree-like grass, due to its notable economic, agricultural, and disaster mitigating uses, such as building materials, as a food source, and as a versatile raw product.

Aside from re-greening, Digamo said small-scale miners operating within the Bued River who contribute to the river’s siltation and pollution are continuously monitored by EMB.

Six mining operators were recently discovered in Barangay Uabac and ordered to stop their operations after the waters turned silvery-grayish due to mine tailings they directly disposed into the river.

The official said they already had an initial inventory of the locations of the mining operations along Bued River.


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