Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu yesterday warned establishments along Manila Bay that they face closure similar to what happened to restaurants and hotels in Boracay Island if they do not implement proper waste disposal.
Along with other officials of the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Cimatu led the inspection of various establishments in Manila, as well as those close to esteros or creeks that drain into the Pasig River and into the sea.
Some 200 establishments and 38 hotels were subjected to the DENR inspection, which discovered that majority did not have proper sewage treatment plants (STP), including the government-run Manila Zoo.
The zoo management defended that they only came to know about a 1997 order requiring all establishments to have STP last week. They argued that animal waste from the zoo are converted to fertilizers and not thrown to the bay.
The Manila Zoo management said that the Manila government had promised to fund their own wastewater treatment facility.
The Laguna Lake Development Authority and the DENR are identifying which among the 204 establishments and 38 hotels around Manila Bay do not have STP.
Aside from hotels, the DENR also found that residential areas, hospitals and factories, have violated the regulation prescribing the construction of STP.
Cimatu’s team also inspected Estero de San Antonio Abad, which he identified as the “ground zero” of the Manila Bay rehabilitation efforts.
He said establishments which have no treatment facilities discharge polluted water straight to Manila Bay, home to 1.3 million coliform organisms from human wastes.
“I’m very much disappointed because this validates reports that these establishments throw their waste water here. We have to correct that,” he said.
The DENR is set to meet with the agencies and stakeholders on 15 January to finalize the Manila Bay’s rehab plan.
The DENR estimates that the rehabilitation of Manila Bay ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte will cost around P47 billion.