Davao lacks wastewater treatment facility – study

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DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 3 Sept) – The City Council of Davao is now studying how to address waste disposal here after a study conducted by foreign students found out that the city lacks proper wastewater treatment facility.

Vice Mayor Paolo Z. Duterte told reporters on Tuesday that the council’s committee on environment, chaired by Councilor Leonardo Avila III, will take up the matter.

“It’s now being studied because our sea is already polluted,” he said.

Duterte also said that the city should have one authorized company that will collect all the human wastes, which must be disposed of in proper places.

Nigerian student Kayode Oloko, who is taking up masters in Environment Engineering in Finland, was at the City Council recently to present the results of their study on “Wastewater and Sanitation in Selected Parts of Davao City.”

He said they found out that “nearly all the wastewater is released into nature without treatment, this is causing considerable costs due to increased levels of water-related diseases and environmental degradation.”

The study also noted that the lack of proper sanitation affects economic growth.

“Near rivers, sea or canals, there are numerous households that don’t have septic tanks,” Oloko added.

The study noted that there are households with proper septic tanks, but these are connected to the drainage system, which then overflow into the canals, ending up in the rivers or the sea.

In a survey conducted in Barangay Leon Garcia, Agdao, an outbreak of disease is highly possible because residents depend on a public toilet.

“Very high knowledge of proper handwashing procedure, however, lack of water till 10 a.m. stands as a rick to the students of the Leon Garcia National Elementary and High School,” Oloko said.

The study found out that the leading disease in the barangay is diarrhea, noting 10 households out of 45 surveyed.

“(At least) 19 percent of garbage are thrown into the canal,” he said.

The study also cited the information drive of the barangay officials but 20 percent of the residents do not segregate their garbage.

As compared to Buhangin, the diarrhea outbreak is minimal because there is no dependency on public toilet but still, the leading disease was amoebiasis, noting 2 households out of 15, the study said.

“(At least) 40 percent practice segregation of solid waste,” the study noted.

In the city, there are only three septic tank cleaning companies accredited by the City Health Office and City Environment and Natural Resources Office.

These companies, however, claimed they only have 33 customers in a month.

But Oloko added it is difficult to find out how often the sewage disposal is done in a month.

“The bitter truth still lies in the fact that daily illegal disposal either to nature or drainage canals are still ongoing,” he added.

Oloko said that in the small- to medium-sized companies they visited that are associated with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), they found out that most of them have no wastewater treatment facility.

The wastewater goes straight to the drainage canals, the study noted.

“Effects of this practice are considered insignificant, but the cumulative impact of this practice is tremendous,” it added.

He recommended that the city must look closer into the houses that dispose wastes to the canals.

The city should also address the proliferation of the illegal septic companies.

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