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Estrada orders clearing of clogged drains, creeks

Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada has ordered the clearing of clogged drains and creeks to reduce flashfloods in the city.

He gave the order after the Task Force Manila Cleanup, which has been conducting road clearing operations, discovered that most of the sewerage in the city–especially those in Divisoria, Binondo, and Quiapo–are clogged with tons of refuse, mostly fruit and vegetable peelings, and plastic wrappers and containers.

“It’s disappointing that the drainage systems that are built to prevent flooding have become garbage dumps. People have never learned,” Estrada said.

He said one of the principal reasons he launched the road clearing operations is to drive away undisciplined illegal vendors that clog the drains with their garbage.

He also said the unabated dumping of garbage in the drainage and creeks has been a serious concern since he assumed office in 2013.

Of the 8,700 tons of garbage Manila produces everyday, 30 percent or roughly 2,610 tons end up in drainage pipes and esteros, he pointed out.

 Task Force Manila Cleanup head Che Borromeo said he is coordinating with the Office of the City Engineer to carry out Estrada’s directive.

“For such a long time, those vendors we have been removing have clogged our drainages. Puro plastic ang laman ng mga drainage natin,” Borromeo said.

On Juan Luna and Sta. Elena streets in Binondo, which had been subject of repeated clearing operations, Borromeo said many canals are so choked with garbage, that it can no longer absorb floodwaters during heavy downpour, causing flashfloods.

Last week, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) collected 20 truckloads of silt and garbage from the drainage along Taft Avenue, from Padre Faura to P. Ocampo.

Workers discovered that the drainage was clogged with cement residues from concrete mixers used in the construction of a residential building.

“Again, I’m appealing to the public to practice proper waste disposal. We all suffer when there are floods,” Estrada said.