‘Battle for Rivers and Esteros’: Massive clean-up of Manila Bay

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 1, 2019   •   2015

DPWH personnel collect plastic waste from polluted esteros | Courtesy: DENR

MANILA, Philippines — Around 5,301 sacks of garbage were collected on Sunday (March 31) in the ‘Battle for Rivers and Esteros’ — a massive clean-up drive of Manila Bay.

Waterways leading to Manila Bay were filled with piles of waste.

Some volunteers used small boats to collect trash while others needed to use cranes and backhoes.

Various groups, government agencies, and residents participated in the cleaning of the waterways that lead to Manila Bay.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu said cleaning the waterways is a step toward cleaning the rivers leading to the bay.

“Ang Parañaque River natin ay isa sa medyo maduming river na dumidiretso sa Manila Bay. Kailangang linisin natin ang Parañaque River, pero ang Parañaque River hindi natin malilinis kung hindi natin isama ang mga estero na pumupunta sa Parañaque River, (The Parañaque River is among the polluted rivers that lead to Manila Bay. We need to clean that. But we cannot do so if we will not clean first the waterways leading to Parañaque River) he said.

Meanwhile, the Department of the Interior of Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año recommends relocating all informal settlers living along the waterways.

He said cleaning Manila Bay is for the sake of the future generation and that it is time to take action.

“Alam ko sa ginagawa nating ito marami tayong nasasagasaan, Mayroong sasama ang loob , pero wala tayo magagwa dahil wala nang panahon, (I know that our activities might upset some groups. They might protest but there’s nothing we can do about it. There is no time),” he said.

Residents who volunteered in the clean-up believe this will help improve their barangay.

Among the rivers that were cleaned include Tullahan, Tinejeos, Pasig, Navotas, Parañaque and San Juan.

Amy Gallarte, a resident of Barangay. Tumana, Marikina City said that cleaning the waterways can help prevent flooding in their area.

“Kailangan po kasi natin ang kalinisan lalong-lalo na po ang creek. Kasi pag nagbara ang creek hindi po dadaloy ang tubig, makukulong po iyan, (We need cleanliness especially in the waterways. Because once it gets blocked, water will get stuck there) she said.—Aileen Cerrudo (with reports from Nel Maribojoc)

3,810 tons of garbage collected from Manila Bay cleanup ops – MMDA

Robie de Guzman   •   September 10, 2019

A joint clean-up activity on an area of Manila Bay in Navotas City led by the MMDA, DENR, DPWH, Coast Guard, BJMP, Navotas City LGU, Brgy. officials as part of the bay’s rehabilitation, August 19, 2019 | MMDA

MANILA, Philippines – More than 3,000 tons of garbage have been collected from the coastline and drainage system discharging to Manila Bay since the government began its rehabilitation in January, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) reported.

MMDA’s Manila Bay rehabilitation report revealed that from January 7 to August 31, they were able to collect garbage, water hyacinth and silt weighing a total of 3,810 tons from the following areas:

• 2,639 cubic meters / 749.72 tons of garbage from Manila Baywalk and other tributaries

• 2,594.34 cubic meters / 737.12 tons of garbage and water hyacinth removed from Baseco beach area, lagoon, and aplaya

• 3,174.5 cubic meters / 901.85 tons of water hyacinth/garbage from Pasig River and San Juan River area

• 5,005.5 cubic meters / 1,422.17 tons of silt from esteros and drainage laterals discharging to Manila Bay

MMDA Chairman Danilo Lim said they expect to collect more garbage from Manila Bay due to heavy rains in the past few days.

“Garbage has accumulated in Manila Bay after the heavy rains but the rehabilitation of Manila Bay never stops. We are inviting more volunteers to help in our clean-up drive held every Saturday in the Baywalk and Baseco areas,” Lim said.

“The government still has a long way to go in the rehabilitation of Manila Bay but we are on the right track towards restoring the beauty and improve Manila Bay’s quality of water,” said Lim.

The Manila Bay cleanup organized by the MMDA was joined by some 18,457 volunteers from January to August this year.

104 new whale sharks spotted in Donsol, highest in several years

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 6, 2019

A diver tags a whale shark off the coast Donsol as part of the local population count. 104 new whale shark individuals were identified in Donsol from January until June of 2019. (Photograph: Jurgen Freund / WWF Philippines)

There are 104 new whale sharks spotted on the coast of Donsol in Sorsogon between January and June 2019, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

This has been the highest number of whale sharks spotted compared to the period between 2017 and 2018, where only 22 new whale sharks were identified.

“Each whale shark can be identified based on the unique pattern of spots behind its gills, which serves as a “fingerprint” for identification. Just as no two human fingerprints are alike, no two whale sharks have the same spot pattern,” according to the WWF website.

The whale shark or Rhincodon typus is classified as endangered, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on their Red List of Threatened Species.

“The whale sharks were sighted during this year’s photo identification activities conducted by WWF-Philippines. In the first half of this year, 168 individuals – with 64 re-sightings alongside the 104 newly identified ones – were noted,” the WWF added.

WWF-Philippines Donsol Project Manager Manuel Narvadez, Jr. said the increase in the number of new whale sharks spotted in Donsol is because the water is now rich in plankton.

“These whale sharks that pass by Donsol aren’t just important due to their value to local tourism. More than that, they play an important, systemic role in providing resilience to the local ecosystem,” he said.—AAC

95 endangered hawksbill turtle hatchlings released in Albay

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 6, 2019

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Bicol has reported 95 hatchlings of hawksbill sea turtle were released in the waters of Sitio Imacoto Cagmanaba, Oas, Albay on Wednesday (Sept 4).

The hawksbill turtle or Eretmochelys imbricata is among the critically endangered sea turtles in the world.

According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the hawksbill turtles are among the marine creatures that help maintain the health of coral reefs.

“As they remove prey such as sponges from the reef’s surface, they provide better access for reef fish to feed.  They also have cultural significance and tourism value,” the WWF said.

Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) Guinobatan Officer Narisol C. Divina appealed to the public to be their partner in protecting marine turtles to save marine life.

“The DENR needs the concern and support of the community and stakeholders on the protection of our marine biodiversity to scale up the Pawikan conservation program of the Department,” she said.

READ: DENR releases endangered sea turtles in Boracay to celebrate Ocean’s Month

According to the DENR Bicol, the coastal waters of Sitio Imacoto, Oas is part of the Ticao Burias Pass Protected Seascape (TBPPS), a marine protected area with very rich marine biodiversity, which offers a suitable nesting habitat for sea turtles.—AAC

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