City News

City ENRO intensifies bioremediation of coastal waters through EM mudballs

By Gerardo Reyes Jr

November 09, 2022

The City Environment and Natural Resources Office (City ENRO) of Puerto Princesa intensified its bioremediation activities through the use of effective microorganisms mudballs intended for the natural healing of the city’s coastal waters.


City ENR Officer, Atty. Carlo B. Gomez, said that the bioremediation, which was started in 2016, will continue for 11 consecutive years to attain significant results and achieve better coastal water quality.


Bioremediation is a waste management process using live organisms to neutralize or remove harmful pollutants from contaminated areas. It has an effective microorganism solution that breaks down toxins and consumes bad bacteria in the water.


Mudball is a low-cost wastewater treatment intended to clean bodies of water such as rivers, lakes, ponds and oceans.


Effective Microorganisms (EM) is a microbial inoculant that encourages the growth of beneficial microbes indigenous to the environment. As these beneficial microbes grow in numbers, it increases their capabilities to bioremediate water, soil and waste materials, therefore fixing and restoring the water bodies’ state and quality. EM mudballs are made of dried mud into which EM solution and rice bran, locally known as “darak”, has been kneaded.


Atty. Gomez explained that based on the literature published in Japan, where the EM mudballs originated from, their coastal water’s quality has improved after the application of mudballs for 11 straight years.


This year alone, the City ENRO applied a total of 62,000 pieces of mudballs during mudball-throwing activities at the city’s baywalk which was done twice weekly since September 17, 2022 in partnership with stakeholders, civic organizations, government agencies and offices.


Since 2016, the City ENRO spearheaded various mudball-throwing activities at the city baywalk and they said that it will continue the bioremediation of coastal area with the use of EM mudballs.


The throwing of EM mudballs has become a regular activity of the City ENRO to improve water quality of the coastal waters in Puerto Princesa Bay.


Several portions of Puerto Princesa Bay have been occupied by more than 7,000 informal settler-families, majority of them erected their houses illegally in areas with seawater and within the coastal easement zones.


The City Government as early as 2018 has announced that they intend to relocate these informal settler-families in a relocation site in Maslog, Barangay Irawan.


The largest contributor of these informal settlers is Barangay Bagong Silang also known as Quito with 729 households or 73.2% of its total household population, followed by Barangay San Pedro specifically in Purok Abanico with 491 households or 13.3% of its total household population.


The study entitled, “Water quality of Puerto Princesa Bay in relation to the presence of informal settlers in its coastal areas,” authored by Rhea C. Garcellano and Loida Japson of the College of Sciences, Palawan State University (PSU) published in August 2020, affirmed through their analysis that the presence of informal settlers affects water quality in terms of fecal coliform and the five phytoplankton genera.


Last year, the City Government of Puerto Princesa, through its joint venture partners, started to operate its P240-million sewage and septage treatment facility known as Puerto Princesa Water Reclamation and Learning Center. It was constructed within the 2,000 square meter reclaimed area at the City’s baywalk. It is a joint venture project aimed to manage household sewage and wastewater.


Atty. Gomez described the project as “a very important environmental infrastructure facility and program.” He said that the baywalk has been considered as a very strategic area for the wastewater treatment facility project which he considered as a big step in achieving pollution reduction measures.


Atty. Gomez further explained that with the proper treatment of wastewater and other proper management of sewage, septage, floodwaters, etc. in place, is an action in accordance with the intergenerational responsibility that every generation has a responsibility to the next generation to preserve that rhythm and harmony for the full enjoyment of a balanced and healthful ecology.


“The doctrine of intergenerational responsibility—a present-day duty for the benefit of forthcoming generations, is the doctrine famously pronounced by the Supreme Court in the case of Oposa vs. Factoran.”