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Attitude change needed at bay

Kuhlin Ceslie Gacula

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Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu expressed belief yesterday that a change in mindset is needed if the pollution-bedeviled Manila Bay is to be restored and preserved.

Cimatu itemizes budget allocation

“If they ask me what’s the most difficult part in rehabilitating Manila Bay, I would say it is changing our people’s behavior and attitude,” Cimatu said.

He, however, said the seeming enthusiasm and willingness shown by 5,000 people at the start of the clean-up last 27 January showed there’s hope that change will come.

President Rodrigo Duterte has allocated P42 billion for the bay’s clean-up in the next three years.

According to Cimatu, around P6 billion or roughly 14 percent of the allocation will be used for clean-up activities and to underwrite an information and education campaign.

The remaining P36 billion will be spent in relocating and providing support systems to informal settlers contributing to the bay’s pollution.

At least 13 government agencies, given a standing order by the Supreme Court in 2008 to make Manila Bay’s waters fit for swimming, are participating in what had been dubbed “Battle for Manila Bay.”

“The more difficult part is the relocation of over 220,000 households. But the most difficult is to maintain and sustain its clean condition for the next generation,” Cimatu said.

Fecal coliform level in Manila Bay, prior to the launch of the rehabilitation program, was recorded at 330 million mpn (most probable number) per 100 milliliters (ml). The acceptable level for coastal swimming is 100mpn/100 ml.

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