Environmental group launches online petition vs Manila Bay white sand project
Aileen Cerrudo • September 9, 2020 • 1083
MANILA, Philippines — Marine conservation group, Oceana Philippines, has launched an online petition to stop the “white sand” project of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Manila Bay.
Oceana Philippines, with other non-government organizations, said they are fighting for the protection and conservation of the country’s vastly threatened fisheries, biodiversity, and natural resources.
The petition cited five laws which the project allegedly violated:
Environmental Impact System Laws and Regulations
The Fisheries Code (RA 8550) as amended by RA 10654
The Clean Water Act, RA 9275
The National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009, RA 10066
The Local Government Code of 1991, RA 7160
The groups are calling for the accountability of officials behind the project and recommend that the Manila Bay rehabilitation be focused on addressing the ecological degradation, pollution and socio-economic issues in the area.
“The dumping of crushed dolomite boulders in Manila Bay can only be described as an abdication of that grave responsibility to protect and preserve Manila Bay. This is happening at the time when our nation faces serious health, economic and climate crises,” the petition reads.
MANILA, Philippines — A culvert or drainage pipe was discovered hidden behind boulders at station 640 along Manila Bay’s baywalk area on Roxas Boulevard was found to be discharging untreated wastewater directly into the bay.
Based on water analysis, fecal coliform count in the area was significantly high at 50 million most probable number per 100 milliliters.
After further inspection, three more alleged culverts along the baywalk were discovered.
Pipes were found beside the Remedios drainage outfall across Aristocrat restaurant, Station 240 beside the Padre Faura outfall, and near the Estero San Antonio de Abad outfall.
“Ang lakas ng tubig. Bumubulwak (Water pressure was really strong),” said Environment Undersecretary Jonas Leones.
Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu has ordered the immediate plugging of the illegal outfalls, the establishment of engineering interventions, and the strict enforcement of environmental laws in the bay.
“Noong tine-trace na namin yung existing pipes ng DPWH, ng MMDA at saka ng local government units, itong na-discover namin na illegal pipe wala doon sa records nila,” Leones noted.
(When we were tracing the origin of the existing pipes of the DPWH, the MMDA, and the local government units, none of these illegal pipes were in their records.)
“So the Secretary (Cimatu) has decided na i-seal na namin yung mga illegal pipes and mga culverts. And then let’s see kung saan lalabas yung mga tubig na yan na suppose to be doon lumalabas sa illegal pipes na na-identify na namin,” he added.
(So the Secretary has decided to seal those illegal pipes and culverts and then let’s see where the water would go out aside from the illegal pipes that we have identified.)
Leones said that before they traced the illegal pipes, the coliform level in Manila Bay has already improved from billions of micrograms per normal cubic meters to only thousands.
It just needs to be improved to 100mpn for it to be safe for swimming. -MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)
“We will look into the old river and how the river became narrower through the years,” Cimatu said.
“We will restore the original width of the Marikina River,” he added.
At the same time, Cimatu said the DENR will look into the complaint of the Marikina City government over the alleged reclamation project along the river, which has not secured an environmental compliance certificate (ECC) from the environment department.
“Definitely, there should be no reclamation. I will really implement the easement law,” he said.
Cimatu said he has directed the DENR-National Capital Region office to look into the non-issuance of ECC, the reclamation, and the retaining wall built along the riverbanks.
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