Boracay-type Manila Bay cleanup mulled

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After the success of the rehabilitation of Boracay, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is eyeing the revival of Manila Bay using the same strategy employed in the recovery of the Philippines’ premier island resort.

DENR calls on LGU to do their part in seaside rehab to benefit their constituents

Famous for its sunset, Manila Bay has been tagged as one of the most polluted coasts in the world, teeming with domestic garbage, leaks from dumps, toxic industrial effluents and petrol wastes from shipping operations.

DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said he is keen in having Manila Bay rehabilitated, restored and maintained to a level that would make it fit for swimming, skin diving and other seaside forms of recreation.

“We are preparing for an all-out strategy to bring the coliform concentration in Manila Bay to a safe level, so that millions of people who reside in the bay and its neighboring areas will enjoy its waters and marine resources without fear of getting sick,” he said.

According to Cimatu, part of the DENR’s strategy is to ensure the compliance of all local government units surrounding Manila Bay to environmental laws.

“I am calling on all LGU to step up their efforts in cleaning up the bay, because it is their own constituents who will benefit,” he said.

He revealed that a Manila Bay Command Center under the DENR’s NCR regional office would be created to oversee the zonal operations of four field offices in six coastal cities of Metro Manila, namely Malabon-Navotas, Manila, Pasay-Parañaque and Las Piñas.

These field offices would be manned by personnel who would closely coordinate with city or municipal environment officers to ensure that cleanup activities and programs are being carried out and sustained.

To address problems of human waste from informal settlers along the bay, the DENR is looking at technologies that would treat the water of pollutants.

Cimatu said the DENR would also seek assistance from law enforcement agencies in going after violators of environmental laws, especially those who discharge untreated wastewater into the bay.

Meanwhile, the Philippines was estimated to produce 40,000 tons of wastes daily, the tonnage of which is expected to increase with the holiday season.

“The rush of holiday shopping, gift-giving, partying and other festive activities is expected to generate truckloads of garbage like in past celebrations,” Daniel Alejandre of the EcoWaste Coalition said yesterday.

“Individual waste generation in Metro Manila estimated at 0.2650 to 1.00 kilo per person a day, for instance, will surely swell with the increased consumption and disposal during the extended holidays, especially if discards are not properly sorted at source,” he said.

The group appealed to the public to reduce waste production, especially of single-use plastics like those used in bottled water.

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