DENR National Capital Region, through its North Field Office (NFO) and Estero Rangers, joined forces with the Flood Control Division (Bantay Ilog) of the City Government of Valenzuela in removing water hyacinths at Polo River in Barangay Malinta, Valenzuela City.

Polo River is part of the Malabon-Navotas-Tullahan-Tinajeros (MANATUTI) River System. It is also one of the major waterways of Metro Manila that has seasonally been plagued with water hyacinths (Eichhornia crassipes).

Water hyacinth is a type of aquatic plant considered by many countries as a destructive invasive alien species (IAS). It is native to the Amazon basin of South America, but has since proliferated extensively globally. In general, water hyacinths constitute a threat to native biodiversity, ecosystem functionality, human health, and people’s livelihoods. It reproduces and spreads fast, often covering huge bodies of water.

The combined actions of the NFO – headed by Deputy Chief Environmental Officer Olga O. Arzadon – and the city government of Valenzuela have so far resulted in the removal of an average of 8,255 kg (50 sacks) of water hyacinths per day since its start last August 31, 2021. The team vowed to continue their cleanup operation to prevent water hyacinths from reaching Manila Bay.

The activity is in keeping with Regional Executive Director Jacqueline A. Caancan’s directive to all four (4) Field Offices of DENR National Capital Region to step up its efforts against water hyacinths and cleanup of Manila Bay and its tributaries.