La edición del pasado marzo de 2015 del Geographical Magazine de Reino Unido incluyó un reportaje sobre los notables beneficios que provee la regeneración de canales degradados analizando un proyecto diseñado y ejecutado por Biomatrix Water en varios canales de Manila -Filipinas- principalmente en el Estero de Paco.
Previamente a la intervención del proyecto los canales presentaban un aspecto terrible concentrando una gran cantidad de residuos de diversa tipología, tanto aguas negras procedentes de las viviendas del entorno como vertidos de distinta naturaleza, lo que generaba una situación de total insalubridad en una zona céntrica de Manila.
El reportaje elaborado por Paul Miles se enfoca principalmente en cómo la intervención ha mejorado la vida de las personas que habitan el entorno de los canales. Se citan a continuación varios extractos del artículo, a cuyo contenido completo se puede acceder a través del enlace mostrado al final de la noticia.
«It used to drive us crazy – the trash and sewage, the bad smells and children getting sick with dengue fever,’ says 53-year-old Manila resident Gloria Solomon. The view from Solomon’s home is no longer of a detritus-filled open sewer, but of an attractive, grass-banked idyll, where a system of plants and micro-organisms helps to clean the water. ‘We’re much happier,’ she says. ‘It’s nice to see the estero getting cleaner. Families are now doing business selling snacks by the waterside.’»
«‘The waterways are like the circulatory system of the city. Right now, many are breeding grounds for crime, disease and misery,’ says the Philippine media mogul Regina López. ‘If we can transform these waterways into places of beauty, joy and harmony with nature, a tremendous effect will be felt not only in the whole city, not only in the whole country but into our very essence as a people, for we are taga-ilog – “from the river”.’»
«There have been equally impressive community improvements. In surveys – admittedly carried out by the ABS-CBN Foundation – 100 per cent of residents interviewed said that they now get more exercise, as the waterway is a pleasant place to stroll or jog beside; 97 per cent said that the project has brought community pride, a happier community and greater life satisfaction; and 85 per cent said that they now spend less on medical expenses, with an average saving of 819 pesos (£12) per month.»
«With nearly 2,000 households living within 50 metres of the estero and a further 7,000 households within 300 metres, the combined social and financial benefits are substantial. Perhaps most importantly for the local residents, the estero is now less prone to flooding, as water flows through it more easily.»
«A report from Biomatrix Water has shown that pollution in the water is significantly reduced as it flows through the island reactors. Early on in the life of the scheme, coliforms and pathogens were reduced by more than 50 per cent; levels of ammonia were reduced by 45 per cent and rates of phosphate were reduced by 62 per cent. Even without laboratory analysis, the cleansing activity of the floating islands, which have already survived six typhoons, is clearly visible by the change in colour of the water – from black to grey – as it flows among the islands.»
Puede leer el artículo completo pinchando en este enlace: Manila: clean and green. March 2015, Geographical Magazine.