DENR: Manila Bay waters off Bataan now fit for swimming

Robie de Guzman   •   April 9, 2019   •   2988

FILE PHOTO: Manila Bay sunset (Rogelio Neccessito Jr. / Photoville International)

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 Bay dolomite beach, sa Disyembre na muling bubuksan sa publiko – DENR

Robie de Guzman   •   November 3, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Hindi muna bubuksan sa publiko ang Manila Bay dolomite beach habang isinasagawa ang rehabilitasyon sa kabuuan ng baywalk.

Ayon sa Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), kailangan munang matapos ang rehabilitasyon sa man-made beach bago ito muling buksan sa publiko.

Paliwanag ni DENR Undersecretary Jonas Leones, layunin ng pansamantalang pagsasara ng lugar na bigyang-daan ang phase 2 ng rehabilitasyon sa buong Manila Bay dolomite beach na target makumpleto bago matapos ang taon.

Iginiit rin ng DENR na pansamantala lang naman talaga ang pagbubukas ng lugar lalo’t hindi pa rin natatapos ang paglilinis rito dahil sa pandemya.

Ayon kay Leones, manggagaling pa rin sa Cebu ang dolomite sand na itatambak sa bahagi ng Manila Bay sa ilalim ng kontrata ng Department of Public Works and Highways.

“Ang dolomite resources kasi, mga dolomite rocks, di naman siya available sa other regions at pinagkukuhanan po natin, sinisiguro po natin yung pinagkukuhanan natin ay legitimate sources na may permit po sa ating pamahalaan,” ani Leones.

Tiniyak rin ng DENR na tututukan nito ang paglilinis sa tubig sa Manila Bay upang maging ligtas itong languyan ng mga tao.

Isasaayos rin ang drainage system sa Maynila kung saan planong i-divert ang mga drainage sa sewage treatment plant sa lugar.

Plano rin ng DENR na resolbahin ang problema sa mga basurang naaanod mula sa mga karatig-probinsiya ng Cavite, Laguna, at Pampanga.

Manila Bay office exec relieved from post over dolomite beach overcrowding

Robie de Guzman   •   October 27, 2021

MANILA, Philippines ­– The ground commander assigned to oversee the Manila Bay dolomite beach has been relieved from his post over last weekend’s overcrowding incident.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu announced that he has removed Manila Bay Coordinating Office deputy executive director Jacob Miemban Jr. from his post.

Cimatu said he ordered Miemban’s relief amid the investigation on the overcrowding incident in the dolomite beach.

“We’re not making him a sacrificial lamb. He already said that being the commander, he takes full responsibility for what happened,” Cimatu said.

“While appreciating the gesture of that, kailangan imbestigahan pa rin naman yung nangyari,” he added.

Retired General Ruel Sorilla, who serves as officer-in-charge and director of DENR’s Environmental Law Enforcement and Protection Service, will take over Miemban’s post.

Cimatu said Sorilla has been tasked to strictly implement health protocols in the area that has attracted droves of visitors.

The DENR earlier said it has improved its protocols in admitting visitors to the dolomite beach to prevent the occurrence of similar incident.

It is also eyeing to temporarily close the man-made beach from Oct. 29 to Nov. 3.

The dolomite beach was reopened to the public last Oct. 16 when Metro Manila shifted to COVID-19 Alert Level 3 from Level 4 amid decreasing coronavirus cases.

Mga papayagang pumasok sa Manila Bay dolomite beach, hanggang 4K lang; mga bata, bawal – DENR

Robie de Guzman   •   October 26, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines ­– Lilimitahan na ng Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) ang bilang ng mga bisitang maaaring makapasok sa Manila Bay dolomite beach.

Ayon kay DENR Undersecretary Jonas Leones, nasa 4,000 bisita lamang ang papayagang makapasok na carrying capacity ng lugar.

“Ang problem lang natin, during weekdays, talagang bumibigla, pumapalo talaga ng hindi na bumababa ng 18,000 and above ang number of persons. So, ang gagawin lang natin, with our strategy, we will meet lang yung carrying capacity ng area mga 4,000 to 5,000 lang ang nasa loob,” ang wika ng opisyal.

Upang mapagbigyan ang iba pang mga bisita na makapasok sa dolomite beach, ipatutupad ang limitadong oras sa pagtigil sa lugar.

Kapag weekend, ipaiiral ang “cinema approach” kung saan may scheduling o may oras ang pagpasok sa lugar.

Palalabasin ang mga ito pagkatapos ng dalawang oras para naman sa iba pang mga bisita.

Kapag dagsa ang tao sa weekdays, ipatutupad naman ang rotation system kung saan maari lang tumigil sa loob ng pasyalan hanggang labinglimang minuto.

Upang maiwasan ang pila sa labas ng dolomite beach, planong gumamit ng DENR ng smartphone app o bigyan ang mga bisita ng stub na maipapakita nila kapag oras na ng kanilang pagpasok.

Bibigyan naman ng special lane ang mga vulnerable sectors gaya ng senior citizens, buntis at may karamdaman.

Pagbabawalan namang pumasok sa dolomite beach ang mga batang may edad 11 pababa, alinsunod sa guidelines ng Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID).

“Consistent with the IATF protocols, we followed our determination of the age based on the availability nung vaccination natin. Kung mapapansin ninyo, the government has already implemented the vaccination of 12 years old and above,” ani Leonas.

Layunin ng bagong patakaran na maiwasan na ang pagdagsa ng mga tao gaya nang nangyari sa mga nakalipas na linggo.

Magugunitang, umabot sa mahigit 121,000 indibidwal ang bumisita sa Manila Bay dolomite beach noon lamang araw ng Linggo. Dahil sa dami ng tao, hindi na natupad ang social distancing protocol at may iba pang hindi nakasuot ng maayos ang kanilang face mask.

Isasara naman ang dolomite beach tuwing Biyernes upang bigyang-daan ang maintenance activities.

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