Two weeks ago, a flash flood on Tomas Morato Avenue in Barangay Laging Handa, Quezon City went viral after the floodwaters trapped several cars and caused heavy traffic.
The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has already found the cause of the incident: cooking grease.
In Quezon City, chunks of fatty substances were found clogging the drains along Tomas Morato prompting both agencies to appeal to restaurants to use grease traps in order to prevent discarded cooking oil from solidifying and becoming a problem during the rainy season.
"Kasi ang regulasyon po diyan, 'pag mayroon kayong restaurant, dapat may grease trap. Nabubuo po 'yung sebo at tatanggalin mo po 'yun, parang ice block. Ang nangyayari po ngayon, dahil marami tayong istraktura na hindi naman restaurant dati, kinonvert na naging restaurant, wala pong mga grease trap. Marami po tayong mga bahay ngayon sa iba't ibang subdivision na nangangailangan na rin ng grease trap dahil luto na rin po ng luto sa bahay. Diretso na rin po ang labas noon sa main drain at papunta rin po 'yun ng estero," said MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino.
[Our regulation is if you have a restaurant, you must have a grease trap. It traps solidified oil which allows you to remove it like an ice block. Right now, because of so many structures that have been converted into restaurants, they don’t have grease traps. We have houses in various subdivisions that require grease traps because of how much they cook at home. It goes directly to the main drain and right to the sewer.]
The MMDA is already deep in preparation for the rainy season and despite cases of flooding during sudden heavy downpour in the past few weeks, plenty of headway has been made into lessening the impact of the rainy season on the roads of the metropolis. Along with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the MMDA has been working behind the scenes on dredging and declogging creeks and sewage systems in various parts of Metro Manila.
Establishments without grease traps will be warned and if caught dumping used cooking oil in the drainage system will be fined from Php2,000 to 5,000. The penalty also carries the risk of business permit revocation by the local government.
Both the MMDA and the DPWH are also rushing to finish drainage improvements along Tomas Morato, Panay Avenue, Araneta Avenue and Sampaloc and sure that once completed, these will mitigate flooding in the area.
Fifteen major pumping stations have now been rehabilitated while the DPWH is finishing work on the Blumentritt Interceptor Catchment Project that will also be a big help in reducing the flooding in Metro Manila.