DPWH begins dredging, desilting of Manila Bay

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 5, 2019   •   2304

A backhoe dredges decades worth of silt in Manila Bay

MANILA, Philippines — Using the newest machinery, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) began on Tuesday (March 5) the wide desilting activity in Manila Bay as part of its rehabilitation.

The DPWH will first work on the 1.5-kilometer area from Manila Yacht Club Breakwater to the US Embassy.

It was divided into five sectors, with each part estimated to take three months to clean.

Desilting is a process of removing waste and mire underneath the seabed of Manila Bay. The waste collected by the amphibious trucks will be dried and segregated.

The collected waste will be taken to Navotas landfill while the mire and soil will be dumped in a land in Bicutan, Taguig to check if it can still be used.

DPWH Secretary Mark Villar said they are targeting to dredge around 225,000 sq. meters for this year.

“Kailangan ding i-analyze ang composition ng ide-dredge namin depende kung ano iyong toxicity kung meron man (We also need to analyze the composition of what we are going to dredge, depending on the toxicity if there is any),” Villar said.

Villar also said that the DPWH will assign 50 personnel every day to work on the desilting and dredging activity in Manila Bay.

They will also use a sewer inspection camera to determine which establishments are spewing waste into Manila Bay.

“Malaking tulong ito. Pagpasok niya sa culvert ng mga pipes tapos mayroong unathorized na pumapasok doon na mga tubo coming from non-compliant, nakikita ito. Kapag nakita niya iyan, ime-measure namin kung saan galing, anong building o anong tubo (It will be a great help when it enters the culvert of the pipes because it can detect unauthorized pipes coming from non-compliant establishments. We’ll be able to determine which building or pipe it is),” he said.

The department also estimates that it would take three years to thoroughly clean the Manila Bay seabed. —Aileen Cerrudo (with reports from Joan Nano)

Orangutans in rehabilitation suffer from smoke caused by Indonesia forest fires

UNTV News   •   September 17, 2019

Dozens of orangutans are suffering from respiratory problems caused by the smoke from forest fires in Indonesia this week.

Indonesia and neighboring countries in Southeast Asia are regularly hit by smoky haze from slash-and-burn clearances of forests for timber and palm oil plantations, but conditions this year have been the worst since 2015 due to an El Nino weather pattern causing an extended dry spell.

The orangutans in Central Kalimantan were previously trafficked and were taken by authorities there to be rehabilitated before being introduced back into the wild.

Caretakers detected respiratory tract infections in some of them and have started moving them into cages in facilities with cleaner air to be monitored.

Veterinarians there said the Pongo pygmaeus, a native species of orangutans to the island of Borneo, are vulnerable to changing conditions, especially the young.

The air pollution index in Palangka Raya, the capital of Central Kalimantan province on Borneo, has been at a “dangerous” level for days.

Schools in Palangka Raya and another city in Central Kalimantan, Sampit, have been closed this week.

Fires have ripped through more than 328,000 hectares of forests and peatlands in Indonesia since January, causing a choking haze to envelop some cities in Borneo and the island of Sumatra, according to the country’s disaster mitigation agency. (REUTERS)

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.

Gov’t extends rehabilitation works in El Nido

Marje Pelayo   •   August 2, 2019

El Nido Lagoon in Palawan

MANILA, Philippines – Top tourist destination El Nido in Palawan will not be closed to tourists despite decision to extend rehabilitation works in the island.

The rehabilitation program is managed by an interagency task force composed of the Departments of Environment and Natural Resources, the Interior and Local Government and Tourism.

On August 4 a 20-day inspection and investigation will commence to determine the owners and which establishments are non-compliant to the environmental law and hold no necessary permits.

Those who fail government auditing will be ordered closed.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año noted however, that it would be impossible to demolish all structures established within the 20-meter easement zone.

“What we want to promote are the islands of El Nido,” Año said.

“Doon dapat pumunta ang mga tourist doon sa sentro (Tourists should be led to the city center). It’s more on commercial ang lodging, accommodation for the tourist,” he added.

Meanwhile, several areas in Bacuit Bay were declared ‘no swimming zone’ due to contaminated water and because the structures there were already by the beach.

These areas are the Corong-Corong Outfall, El Nido Estero Outfall, Masagana Outfall anf Cabugao Outfall.

“Ang Corong-Corong Outfall, ang fecal coliform is now at 99,315. Ang normal is 100, (Corong-Corong Outfall’s fecal coliform (level) is now at 99,315. The normal level is (only) 100,)” noted Tourism Secretary Bernadet Romolu-Puyat.

“Maiintindihan naman nila siguro kung bakit bawal mag swimming, (They would understand why swimming is banned),” she added.

Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu stressed that this effort of the government is a way to protect the area and so as not to worsen pollution problems in the island such as what happened in Boracay.

“We will continue to stop this because we cannot allow na mag-deteriorate ang El Nido (to deteriorate) into another Boracay,” Cimatu said.

According to DOT, there are about 200,000 tourists that visit El Nido every year. – with reports from Rey Pelayo

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