DENR to check rivers for coliform content amid polio outbreak

Marje Pelayo   •   September 25, 2019   •   955

Filipino residents cross a hanging bridge along the polluted water of Pasig river in Manila, Philippines, 31 May 2018 (issued on 04 June 2018). EPA-EFE/FRANCIS R. MALASIG

MANILA Philippines – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will conduct testing of water samples from all rivers across the country amid the ongoing outbreak of poliovirus.

The test is to determine the quality of and coliform content in the country’s bodies of water after water samples from the sewerage system in Tondo, Manila and Davao city tested positive of poliovirus.

According to DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu has ordered all its regional offices to submit the results as soon as possible.

“Hahanapin namin ang mga pipes na nagtatapon sa mga rivers para masiguro natin na hindi na madagdagan pa ang polusyon ng river (We will trace the pipes that discharge directly into the rivers to make sure that pollution level in our rivers will not escalate),” Antiporda said. – MNP (with details from Grace Casin)

Critics eyeing writ of kalikasan vs Manila Bay white sand project

Robie de Guzman   •   September 7, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Several environmental groups are planning to file a petition for writ of kalikasan to halt the project of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to pour white sand along the shoreline of Manila Bay.

Ocean conservation group Oceana Philippines vice president Gloria Estenzo Ramos said lodging a petition is one of the actions they are discussing to respond to DENR’s white sand project.

“It’s always an option under the rules of procedure for environmental cases, even a threat to destruction. Ito nga may destruction na e, kaya it’s a ground for applying for writ of kalikasan. Mag-meeting ang mga environmental groups on this,” she said in a forum on Monday.

Fisherfolk group Pamalakaya president Fernando Hicap also opposed the project, saying that it is only a waste of taxpayers’ money.

“Ipahinto natin. Hindi po talaga ito yung solusyon. Nagsasayang tayo ng pera at hindi po rehabilitation to. Hindi to makakatulong sa pagrehabilitate sa Manila Bay.”

DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda said they are prepared to face the petition and defend the merits of the project.

“If they say na yung proteksyon natin sa shoreline din natin e mali, well it’s up to them. It’s their right to file their case against us,” he said.

“We’re there to clean it up and we’re there to make it beautiful, ok? So, if that is their allegation, i-prove nila na talagang merong violation kaming nagawa, yun lang ang amin. Well, basically I don’t see any violation in what we’ve done,” he added. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Vincent Arboleda)

Crushed dolomite along Manila Bay can cause respiratory issues, DOH says

Robie de Guzman   •   September 7, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday warned that the inhalation of crushed dolomite rock – the material used in the artificial white sand dumped along the Manila Bay – can cause respiratory issues.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that based on studies, a person may suffer adverse effects from inhaling dolomite dust.

“Sa mga pag-aaral, kapag na inhale natin ito, may mga adverse reactions, respiratory mainly,” Vergeire said.

“Pero hindi naman natin sinasabi na when you go to Manila Bay, you’ll get it at once. Yun lang sinasabi ng mga artikulo,” she added.

Aside from respiratory problems, dolomite dust may also cause irritation if it gets into a person’s eyes or gastrointestinal discomfort if ingested.

“Kapag napunta sa mata, nagkakaroon ng konting irritation so you just have to wash it off with water. Kapag ingested, it can have discomfort sa gastrointestinal system natin and magkakaroon ng sakit ng tyan at pagtatae,” Vergeire said.

“These are the minor effects of these dolomites na nilagay sa Manila Bay,” she added.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) last week implemented its initiative to adorn the Manila Bay shoreline with white sand using crushed dolomite rocks from Cebu Province.

The projects is part of the P389-million beach nourishment project.

Vergeire, however, said she trusts that the DENR has made studies on how dolomite will affect people and the environment before it approved the project.

Some groups have criticized the DENR’s move, saying dumping artificial white sand along Manila Bay was unnecessary and could even negatively affect the ecosystem.

Environment Undersecretary Benny Artiporda earlier argued that crushed dolomite rock is not harmful to the environment and is being used in some resorts.

“The dolomite stones, sabihin na nating dolomite stones, sandstones yan no, were being used by different resorts and beaches since the 1990s. So until now walang problema at maganda naman yung sitwasyon niya,” he said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Vincent Arboleda)

Cimatu calls out Cebu officials’ ‘lack of coordination’ in reporting COVID-19 cases

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 29, 2020

There is a lack of coordination from the local officials of Cebu City which led to the discrepancy in reporting coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the area, according to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu.

DENR Usec. Benny Antiporda said this is one of the issues Cimatu wants to resolve in Cebu City.

“You can see the situation in Cebu, walang coordination. Walang buong pagkilos mula sa barangay level to the local government units to the provincial government. Hindi buo (You can see the situation in Cebu, there is no coordination. No action from the barangay level to the local government units, up to the provincial government. It is not organized),” he said.

Cimatu will meet with officials from the barangay level to determine the problem in the COVID-19 response.

The Environment Secretary will submit a recommendation to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) regarding possible measures to ease the surge of COVID-19 cases.

President Rodrigo Duterte has directed Cimatu to fix the situation in Cebu City amid the surge of COVID-19 cases in the province.

Cimatu said all records should match in order to implement a better COVID-19 response. AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

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