DENR to close off Manila Bay as swimming remains unsafe

admin   •   February 4, 2019   •   2906

Portion of the Manila Bay days after the massive clean up on January 27, 2019. (Christopher Tolentino)

MANILA, Philippines — Just a week following the massive clean-up drive in Manila Bay, local and foreign tourists started to crowd the formerly trash-filled, neglected seaside promenade known as the ‘baywalk’ along Roxas Boulevard.

Families can now spread their picnic mats on the sand and wait to capture the iconic sunset by the bay.

Some couldn’t resist the enticing water and would carelessly plunge into the bay despite warnings of health risks from authorities.

One of them was Mitch Colon who was carrying her baby in her arms while wading through the waters of Manila Bay.

“Laking Maynila din naman po kami kaya sanay rin po kami sa mga ganyan. Pagkatapos niyan magbabanlaw sa bahay kasi baka delikado rin,” said Colon.

Some residents say they now appreciate the change that has come to Manila Bay.

Before the launch of the “Battle for Manila Bay”, they rarely visited the place because of the pile of trash and the stench of the dark and obviously dirty water.

“Maganda na siya. Malinis na siya. First time ko lang po, kasi madumi siya dati,” said Victoria Fuentes.

“Noong dalaga ako, naliligo rin ako dito. Kaso (naging) marumi. Ngayon okay na,” noted Edith Cruz.

Volunteers like Nelson Delgado said it has become a routine for him to pick pieces of trash at the bayside saying it is his way of helping the environment and to protect the visitors in the place especially children.

“Tulong na lang po sa kalikasan saka kay Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte. Nagwo-worry kasi ako, ang dami kasing bubog. Ngayon kahit pagod kami, makita namin iyong mga tao, iyong mga bata na masaya, masaya na rin po kami,” Delgado said.

But despite the enjoyment of the visiting public, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) maintained that it is not yet recommended to swim in Manila Bay.

The agency plans to place warning signages and fences around the bay area to bar the public from swimming.

DENR Undersecretary Sherwin Rigor in a text message said: “There is not advice from DENR to swim in Manila Bay. It is not yet fit for swimming”.

The agency explained that for a body of water to be safe for human contact or for recreation, its fecal coliform content must fall within the 100 most probable number (MPN) per milliliters.

In the case of Manila Bay, the water is far from safe level since it hit the 1.3 billion MPN per 100 ml. in fecal coliform content.

The DENR together with the Department of Health (DOH) earlier warned the public that the water of Manila Bay is not yet safe for recreation.

The agencies said getting contracted with diseases like cholera, diarrhea and skin infections are still high due to the water’s level of contamination.— Marje Pelayo (with reports from Mai Bermudez)

Over 1,000 ‘estero rangers’ tapped for Manila Bay clean-up project

Marje Pelayo   •   November 18, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – A total of 1,100 ‘estero rangers’ were sworn into duty by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu on Sunday (November 17).

They will be deployed to different barangays across Metro Manila to facilitate the estero clean-up project in relation to the ongoing rehabilitation of Manila Bay.

Cimatu believes that by mobilizing these ‘estero rangers,’ irresponsible waste disposal will be prevented as they are going to police their respective communities.

At present, there are around 65,000 families living along more than 200 esteros in Metro Manila and sadly, Cimatu said, they are in the habit of dumping garbage in esteros where these trash extract contaminants that flow straight to Manila Bay polluting its waters.

“Gusto namin mismo doon sa lugar na pinagtatapunan, mayroon tayong linya doon, (We want to have an eye or a line of communication from the areas where they dispose their garbage),” Cimatu said.

“Kayo ang napili. Kayo ang nai-rekomenda ng inyong local government unit especially your barangay (You were chosen. You were recommended by your local government units especially your barangays),” he added addressing the estero rangers.

Local chief executives were asked to identify and recommend two residents from each barangay to become estero rangers.

They are tasked to supervise the cleaning of esteros in their area for six weeks.

“Gusto namin talagang makatulong dahil nga talagang sobrang dumi na talaga (We really want to help because the esteros are so polluted),” noted estero ranger, Adelaida Hermies from San Juan City.

“Personally, ang nakikita ko ang mga residente talaga kulang talaga sa disiplina, (Personally from what I have observed, the residents really lack discipline),” she added.

The project is part of the ongoing rehabilitation of Manila Bay launched by DENR in cooperation with concerned government agencies, the LGUs and the private sector. – MNP (with details from Asher Cadapan Jr.)

DENR targets ‘swimmable’ Manila Bay by end of 2019

Marje Pelayo   •   November 14, 2019

Volunteers collect rubbish along the shore during the launch of the Manila Bay rehabilitation in Manila, Philippines, 27 January 2019. Thousands of volunteers and government workers gathered at Manila Bay to launch an inter-agency program effort to rehabilitate the waters dubbed as ‘Battle for Manila Bay’. EPA-EFE/MARK R. CRISTINO

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) wants to improve the quality of water in Manila Bay to make it “swimmable” by the end of the year.

On Wednesday (November 13), DENR tested water sample from a creek near the DENR-NCR office in East Avenue, Quezon City.

An organic solution which is said to reduce pollution level in water has been applied.

“Its 100% organic so pwede siyang inumin ng tao, pwedeng inumin ng hayop, (so it could be consumed by humans and animals),” explained CHC Agritect Archieval Cabral.

Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu personally witnessed the solution’s effect on the contaminated water.

Cimatu said the agency plans to study whether the solution can be used to rehabilitate Manila Bay.

The DENR targets to make its water swimmable or safe for recreation before the end of the year.

“Ang first ano natin is ma-cleanup ang Manila Bay, ang fecal coliform. Iyon ang pinaka-target natin na mapababa, (First, we need to clean up Manila Bay’s fecal coliform content. That’s what we are targeting to reduce,)” Cabral said.

The DENR plans to construct three outfalls and a treatment plant near the Manila Yacht Club in Roxas Boulevard to help reduce pollution in Manila Bay.

“Especially kung nandyan na yung treatment plant talagang bababa na iyon, (Especially if the treatment plant is already working, [coliform content] will be further reduced),” Cimatu said.

“Kasi yung mga matataas na coliform diyan mati-treat nito (Because if coliform content is high, the facility will treat the water),” he assured.

The DENR will commission at least 2,000 personnel to maintain cleanliness in creeks across Metro Manila that discharge water to Manila Bay.

“Kasi kahit maglinis-linis tayo sa dagat kung tuloy-tuloy pa rin ang pagbaba ng garbage coming from the esteros, ay ganun pa rin, (Even if we do clean up drives but garbage disposals coming from the esteros continue, the situation will remain the same),” Secretary Cimatu said.

“So, we have to solve the problem from the sources,” he added. – MNP (with EXCLUSIVE interview by Rey Pelayo)

European-style lampposts installed in Jones Bridge

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 21, 2019

European-style lampposts were installed as part of the rehabilitation of Jones Bridge in Manila.

During an inspection on Monday morning (October 21), Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso said the rehabilitation may not look exactly like the original design of Jones Bridge but it will still remain European-style inspired.

“Ang Maynila is the Paris of the East. That is why if we have to revive Manila, at least malapit sa katotohanan hindi man parehong-pareho (as least similar to the truth even if it is not exactly the same),” Moreno said.

Moreno also assured the Manila government did not pay anything for the said rehabilitation. He also said that the lampposts are Filipino-made.

“Kaya iyong ilaw na nandyan hindi mabibili kahit saan (The lights installed there cannot be bought anywhere else),” he said.

The Manila Mayor also said the rehabilitation plan will also include the installation of ‘La Madre’ or the four pylon included in the original design of Jones Bridge.—AAC (with reports from Bernard Dadis)

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