DOH warns public on bathing in dirty river

Mar. 14, 2016


WATER BABY. Taking a dip in the Davao River spells happiness for this young boy. ( photo by Medel V. Hernani)

This is a photo of a boy taking a dip in the Davao River. The photo was taken in 2013. ( file photo by Medel V. Hernani)

DAVAO CITY — The Department of Health has advised the public here against bathing or swimming in contaminated rivers to avoid getting illnesses, including polio, diarrhea, skin rashes and sore eyes.

The agency issued the warning after the  Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Environment and Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) found high levels of fecal and total coliform in the downstream portion of the Davao River.

The passable standard for fecal coliform stands at around 200 most probable number per 100 liters, but a sampling at portions of the Davao River indicated very high coliform count of as much as 16 million most probable number per 100 liters.

The Regional Inter-Agency Committee on Environmental Health (RIACEH) said that improper dumping of wastes and the lack of or improper sewer and septage facilities contributed to the very high coliform content.

The Department of Health and the World Health Organization is now conducting environmental surveillance along the Davao River to monitor any cases of morbidity due to river water contamination.

A sampling station will be set up particularly in the highly populated river bank in Bucana or the estuary. (

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