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DPWH begins dredging, desilting of Manila Bay

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Tuesday, March 5th, 2019

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)

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‘Battle for Rivers and Esteros’: Massive clean-up of Manila Bay

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Monday, April 1st, 2019

DPWH personnel collect plastic waste from polluted esteros | Courtesy: DENR

MANILA, Philippines — Around 5,301 sacks of garbage were collected on Sunday (March 31) in the ‘Battle for Rivers and Esteros’ — a massive clean-up drive of Manila Bay.

Waterways leading to Manila Bay were filled with piles of waste.

Some volunteers used small boats to collect trash while others needed to use cranes and backhoes.

Various groups, government agencies, and residents participated in the cleaning of the waterways that lead to Manila Bay.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu said cleaning the waterways is a step toward cleaning the rivers leading to the bay.

“Ang Parañaque River natin ay isa sa medyo maduming river na dumidiretso sa Manila Bay. Kailangang linisin natin ang Parañaque River, pero ang Parañaque River hindi natin malilinis kung hindi natin isama ang mga estero na pumupunta sa Parañaque River, (The Parañaque River is among the polluted rivers that lead to Manila Bay. We need to clean that. But we cannot do so if we will not clean first the waterways leading to Parañaque River) he said.

Meanwhile, the Department of the Interior of Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año recommends relocating all informal settlers living along the waterways.

He said cleaning Manila Bay is for the sake of the future generation and that it is time to take action.

“Alam ko sa ginagawa nating ito marami tayong nasasagasaan, Mayroong sasama ang loob , pero wala tayo magagwa dahil wala nang panahon, (I know that our activities might upset some groups. They might protest but there’s nothing we can do about it. There is no time),” he said.

Residents who volunteered in the clean-up believe this will help improve their barangay.

Among the rivers that were cleaned include Tullahan, Tinejeos, Pasig, Navotas, Parañaque and San Juan.

Amy Gallarte, a resident of Barangay. Tumana, Marikina City said that cleaning the waterways can help prevent flooding in their area.

“Kailangan po kasi natin ang kalinisan lalong-lalo na po ang creek. Kasi pag nagbara ang creek hindi po dadaloy ang tubig, makukulong po iyan, (We need cleanliness especially in the waterways. Because once it gets blocked, water will get stuck there) she said.—Aileen Cerrudo (with reports from Nel Maribojoc)

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Simultaneous clean-up of rivers, canals leading to Manila Bay set on March 31

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Wednesday, March 20th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has set a simultaneous clean up of canals and rivers leading to Manila Bay on March 31.

DENR Undersecretary Jonas Leones said the clean up drive will cover the river system traversing Marikina, Pasi, Tullahan and Parañaque.

“Iyong nakadikit dun sa mga river system, iyong mga esteros will be cleaned(The canals attached to the river system will be cleaned),” said Leones.

These water systems, according to Leones, serve as conduits for waste water and other pollutants to directly flow into Manila Bay, thus a clean up drive is highly necessary.

“We believe that we cannot clean Manila Bay unless we clean also the sources of pollution along this river systems,” the official added.

In line with the clean-up efforts, the DENR has ordered the closure of two of the three outfalls or water passage located between the U.S. Embassy and Manila Yacht Club to give way to the construction of a sewerage treatment plant that will filter waste water before it reaches Manila Bay.

Meanwhile, dredging operations to scoop out the 4-meter-thick mud and garbage deposits in Manila Bay’s seabed continue.

Likewise, experts are conducting tests on water samples to verify traces of dangerous and heavy metals like mercury.

“Kapag na-accumulate sa body mo iyan, (If those (heavy metals) accumulate inside your body) it will take years before it is eliminated into your body,” Leones explained.

Authorities remind the public that recreational swimming remains strictly prohibited in Manila Bay, though pollution level in its water has receded.

“Ito lang ang sabi ng aming secretary, kapag na-fit ang water for swimming ang unang lalangoy doon kami daw. Hanggat hindi pa kami lumalangoy doon talagang walang dapat mag-swimming doon, (Secretary [Cimatu] told us that once the water in Manila Bay becomes fit for swimming, we will be the first ones to swim in it. So while we are not yet swimming in it, no one should),” the official stressed.

The agency will set up sanitation facilities that informal settlers near Manila Bay can use to prevent them from disposing waste materials into the bay. – Marje Pelayo (with details from Rey Pelayo)

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Demolition warning issued against non-compliant Boracay establishments

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Friday, March 1st, 2019

Boracay Island

The Boracay Interagency Task Force has given 10 non-compliant establishments a 15-day ultimatum, beginning March 1, to remove their structures after failing to follow the easement rule in Boracay even after the 10-month rehabilitation effort.

During a press conference on Thursday, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said this warning will send a “strong message to everyone, who are still violating  the easement, that we really mean business.”

A 30-meter no-build zone along the beachfront was implemented in Boracay since the start of its rehabilitation in April.

Año warned that the non-compliant establishments should opt for self-demolition, otherwise the Task Force will take on the responsibility of removing these establishments.

“We will issue the final ultimatum and then we’ll give them 15 days, then we will forcibly demolish all these establishments if they do not do self-demolition.” Año added. —Aileen Cerrudo

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