DENR: Manila Bay waters off Bataan now fit for swimming
Robie de Guzman • April 9, 2019 • 1782
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has identified an area in Manila Bay that is now fit for swimming and other forms of contact recreation activity.
DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda said swimming in the Manila Bay waters off the Mariveles town in Bataan is already possible after its level of coliform bacteria was reduced to the safe levels of 100 to 200 most probable number (MPN) per 100 milliliters, based on a report they received.
Antiporda added that DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu is set to head to Mariveles, Bataan this week to validate the report.
He said the latest development is a proof that government efforts to rehabilitate Manila bay are beginning to bear fruit.
“Matatandaan niyo na nasabi natin dito sa DENR na within 6 months to 1 year eh meron tayong magiging swimmable area ano. Ito na po ‘yun,” he said
(If you can recall, the DENR said that within 6 months to 1 year we will have a ‘swimmable’ area in Manila bay. This is it.)
DENR, however, clarified that swimming in Manila Bay waters along the coast of Roxas Boulevard remains prohibited as the water quality there has yet to improve. Dredging and other clearing operations are also ongoing in the area.
“Ngayon po ay nabubulabog ang dagat. Hinuhukay po siya at kumbaga iyong mga bakal at anuman, salamin man o bote o bubog ngayon po ay nabulabog kaya malaki po iyong posibilidad na maaari kayong mainjure o malagay sa alanganin ang buhay niyo,” Antiporda cautioned.
(The waters and the seabed are being dredged so solid wastes underneath such as metal, shards of glass and other similar materials may have surfaced. This might possibly injure or endanger your lives)
Since January this year, the government has been working to clean up Manila’s most famous body of water to make it fit again for swimming and other water-related recreation activities.
DENR and other agencies have began the dredging operation in parts of Manila bay and its tributaries to remove the layers of trash and silt underwater, as seen in a video taken by UNTV News and Rescue’s underwater drone.
The decades-long flow of solid wastes and untreated discharges have raised the coliform bacteria in Manila Bay to more than 300 million MPN per 100 milliliters before the rehabilitation kicked off, the DENR said.
The presence of coliform bacteria in the water indicates contamination which may cause diseases upon contact. – Robie de Guzman (with details from Mai Bermudez)
MANILA, Philippines – The government’s National Greening Program launched by the Aquino Administration in 2011 is a five-year project which aimed at planting 1.5 billion trees in 1.5 million hectares of forest land in the country.
However, based on the findings of the Commission on Audit (COA) in December 2019, only 12% of the target area has been planted up to this date.
Based on COA’s assessment, there was a problem with the former administration’s strategy and planning as the number of personnel was smaller as compared to the scope of the job.
Most trees ended up dying due to lack of care.
Some may have survived but they are among trees fit for agroforestry such as cacao.
“Ang pinakamalaking problema talaga is maraming hindi nag survive. Bakit hindi nag survive? Iyong wrong timing of planting, tapos wrong species and at the same time, of course, ang climate change (The biggest problem really was many didn’t survive. Why? Due to wrong timing and wrong species. At the same time, climate change),” the official explained.
At present, COA said, only about 7M hectares remain as forest land in the country which is only about 41.5% as compared to the scope of forest lands in 1934.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said there is no use blaming the former administration for what happened to the program.
Environment Undersecretary Benny Antiporda said they are now working on ways to accomplish the program’s target.
“Magkakaroon ng impounding area for water and soil para lang sa pangangailangan nitong NGP natin, (We will establish impounding area for water and soil as required by the NGP,)” he said.
“This are the preparations na hindi nila nakita noon, (which they failed to note in the past,)” he added.
COA explained in its report that indeed immediate action is necessary to accomplish the program but it careful planning is also important.
The DENR agrees and is planning to reach out and seek the help of the communities in the target areas.
“Ngayon community based tayo. Itong community na ito kung ilang ektarya ang kaya niya, doon tayo. Hindi sapilitan ang gagawin, (We will do community based approach. We will determine how many hectares a community can accomplish planting. It will not be mandatory,)” Antiporda explained.
The officials said they are prioritizing bamboo for the initial phase of the tree planting as it easily grows and has variety of use.
COA recommends the use of drones to accurately identify the target areas for tree planting. MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)
BORACAY ISLAND, Philippines – Garbage is everywhere in Boracay Island after days of heavy rains and winds brought about by Typhoon Ursula.
A source sent UNTV images showing piles of garbage along the sidewalks believed to be from households and commercial establishments within the island.
The source said that piles of trash have been there for more than eight days already and that no help from the local government has come to transfer the garbage even domestic wastes out of the island.
Power lines are still cut except for the main roads which causes heavier burden to residents because the price of fuel particularly diesel has soared to P57/L – P67/L.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) explained that the typhoon not only affected the garbage collectors but it also damaged their equipment.
“Ang tunay pong sitwasyon ay biktima po ang mga kasama natin diyan na maglilinis nung Boracay, (The real situation there is, even our men who are supposed to collect and clear the garbage were also victims or affected by the typhoon,)” noted Environment Undersecretary Benny Antiporda.
What’s worse, the official said, is that residents lack discipline.
They keep on piling garbage even right after the previous batch has been collected.
The Department, nevertheless, promised to send additional personnel and dump trucks to collect the garbage and clear the island.
Antiporda also confirmed allowing exemptions to permit the delivery of petroleum products into the island. – MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)
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