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Wastewater Treatment in Balicasag Island
« on: May 03, 2009, 12:51:57 AM »
By Angeline Valencia

      Shielding world-renowned Balicasag dive site from the adverse impacts of unabated discharge of solid and liquid wastes from over 100 households and establishments in the island, a multi-million-peso wastewater treatment facility can rise to the rescue with 99-percent influent-to-effluent treatment efficiency on coli.
      On the idea, Governor Erico Aumentado re-echoed a lesson learned from a recent one-week study-training on water resources in Korea where they adopt a system of advance wastewater treatment technology using Yakurt Media (YM) by Han-Sung E.N.G.
      Aumentado presided the meeting of the inter-agency technical committee on the proposed memorandum of agreement to save Balicasag island on April 21 at the Philippine Coast Guard headquarters in port area, Manila.
      The meeting gathered together representatives of government agencies involved in the protection of Balicasag Island- -PCG Vice Commander for Operation Ramon Liwag, Panglao Mayor Benedicto Alcala, Provincial Board Member Alfonso Damalerio II, Provincial Legal Officer Handel Lagunay, Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA) Deputy Manager for Operation Jethro Lozada, Philippine Navy Deputy Aaron Fetaleno of N5, Pietro Velasco of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), Department of Tourism (DOT) Legal Services Director Evelyn Cajigal, DOT Legal Services LRD Chief Reynaldo Ching, BFAR-7 Regional Director Andres Bojos, PN Researcher/ Analyst Maureen Malonso, PN Legal Officer Beniluz Engracial, PN Admin and Logistics Officer Chris Baron Ascano, First District Rep. Edgar Chatto’s chief of staff Minjoe Luspo, and the PCG team.
      Upon Alcala’s motion as seconded by Damalerio, the inter-agency technical committee unanimously approved a resolution requesting DOT Secretary Joseph Ace Durano and PTA General Manager Mark Lapid to provide and allocate sufficient funds for the construction and maintenance of a wastewater treatment facility at Balicasag Island.
      “In view of the importance of the dive sites and marine life in Balicasag Island to the country’s tourism industry, there is a need to introduce interventions such as the installation of a waste water treatment facility to mitigate the adverse impacts of solid and liquid wastes generated by domestic activities on the island and the surrounding marine life,” the resolution cited.
      The inter-agency technical committee expressed concern as the population of settlers in the island has already reached a big number, “whose domestic activities inevitably generated solid and liquid wastes”.
      These activities have started affecting the island, the surrounding waters, coral reefs and its marine life, in the absence of appropriate mitigating facilities.
      The resolution cited the role of PTA as an attached agency to the DOT that operates the Balicasag Island Dive Resort in Balisag Island, Panglao.
      The resolution further cited that “Balicasag Island plays a vital role in the tourism industry of the country, as its surrounding water is the location of internationally-renowned dive sites with Level 3 classification characterized, by good coral cover, high diversity of marine life and abundance of fish”.
      Earlier, DOT had provided P1.9 million for the construction and development of a waste water treatment facility in Malapascua Island which has lesser population than Balicasag Island.
      Lagunay, who serves as acting secretary of the inter-agency technical committee, yesterday accompanied Hanjin’s Yung Qu Park, whose brother is connected with Han-Sung ENG, to Balicasag to determine the volume of wastewater discharge in the island and come up with an estimate on the actual project cost.
      On Park’s estimate, Balicasag Island dive resort generates 50-100 tons (142-283 cubic meters) of waste, Lagunay relayed to media.
      Park submitted to Aumentado on Friday night, the estimated cost of the treatment facility that can handle this volume of waste.

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