Fecal coliform bacterial content in Manila Bay hits 1.9 billion – DENR

Marje Pelayo   •   January 14, 2019   •   8733

MANILA BAY: The DENR blames the irresponsible waste disposal of more than 2,000 informal settlers and surrounding establishments for the situation in Manila Bay.

QUEZON CITY, Philippines —The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) expressed concern over the high level of fecal coliform bacteria in Manila Bay.

Based on the recent test conducted by the agency, the fecal and coliform level in Manila Bay has reached 1.9 billion most probable number (MPN).

The level of fecal coliform bacteria indicates the water has been contaminated with fecal discharge of man or other animals.

Of all eleven rivers connected to Manila Bay, two tested positive of containing over two billion fecal coliform. These are the Balut area in Tondo and the Estero de San Antonio de Abad.

Other rivers also contain about 15 to 700 million mpn, according to the DENR.

This level is way higher than the 270 mpn target which the agency wants to achieve by December 2019.

This means that Manila Bay is severely polluted and the reason, the DENR claims, is the irresponsible waste disposal of more than 2,000 informal settlers and other establishments surrounding it and directly disposing their waste materials to the Bay.

Undersecretary Martin Diño of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) blamed the condition of Manila Bay to the negligence of heads of barangays and mayors supposedly responsible for the implementation of environmental laws.

In fact, Diño said, they are about to file charges against at least two mayors and over 100 heads of barangays in Metro Manila in the coming days.

“Ngayon ang gagawin namin sa kanila kung hindi pa rin sila mag-comply this time we will file cases against them,” Diño said.

Meanwhile, Buhay Party list Rep. Lito Atienza blamed Manila Water and Maynila as contributors to the pollution in Manila Bay.

He said the two concessionaires still failed to establishment their respective treatment plants when in fact they have been collecting 20% charge from consumers for the construction of the said facilities.

Diño wants an investigation on the matter.

“This time alamin natin kung saan napunta ang pera na iyan at ang dalawang concessionaire na ito,” Diño said. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Grace Casin)

PNP deploys more cops to enforce health protocols at Manila Bay dolomite beach

Robie de Guzman   •   July 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Guillermo Eleazar on Tuesday ordered the deployment of more personnel at the Manila Bay dolomite beach to ensure the enforcement of minimum health protocols amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“I have tasked the Manila Police District to deploy additional policemen in the area to ensure that persons who visit the beach observe minimum public health safety standards and follow quarantine protocols,” Eleazar said in a statement.

“Kailangan ng masusing pagpaplano at regular na monitoring sa lugar upang matiyak na hindi na maulit ang nangyari last year na hindi nasunod ang social distancing ng mga taong bumibisita,” he added.

Eleazar recalled that an MPD official was relieved after failing to enforce the social distancing rule among visitors during the beach’s brief opening last year.

The PNP chief urged the public to cooperate with authorities and follow health protocols when visiting the beach.

“Mahigpit ang bilin ng SILG Secretary Eduardo Año na iwasang mangyari ang super spreader events lalo ngayon na may mga report ng local transmission ng COVID-19 Delta variant,” Eleazar said.

“Sa mga kababayan naman natin na nagpaplanong pumunta sa dolomite beach, sumunod tayo sa mga alituntunin at huwag na tayong maging pasaway dahil para din ito sa inyong kaligtasan,” he added.

The beach was opened again to the public on Sunday. Visitors may visit the area until July 20.

Another coral garden discovered in Maragondon, Cavite

Marje Pelayo   •   June 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The country has yet another natural treasure discovered in the waters of Cavite that is connected to Manila Bay.

Members of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and volunteer divers were having a clean up drive, “scubasurero” and seagrass monitoring activity in Barangay Patungan in Cavite when they accidentally discovered another coral garden coinciding with the celebration of World Environment Day.

“Recently lang po last June 5, na-discover din po namin na meron din pong coral garden sa Cove ng Barangay Patungan sa Maragondon,” said Andrea Panganiban of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) Cavite.

Panganiban said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is currently conducting an assessment on the said coral garden.

On June 15, PENRO Cavite held another “scubasurero” activity in Maragondon and Ternate in Cavite where they installed marker buoys within the area covering the newly discovered coral garden and within the Maragondon Fish Sanctuary.

It can be recalled that on May 17, over 169 square kilometers of coral garden was discovered at the core zone of Ternate Marine Park within the vicinity of Barangay Sapang Uno and Barangay Bucana.

“Ang nangyari po noon, kami po ay nasa project na maglalagay ng marker buoys para palatandaan kung hanggang saan po ang boundary ng ating core zone upang mabigyan ng impormasyon ang ating mga mangingisda na hindi sila pwedeng pumasok doon. Then kasama po natin sa paglalagay ang mga volunteer divers po natin na gusto nilang makatulong sa pagdodokumento ang proseso po ang ating proyekto,” Panganiban said.

“Nung natapos po natin iyon, nag-scout sila sa ilalim ng dagat. At ayun nga po nadiscover na meron pa tayong napakagandang coral garden sa core zone natin,” she added.

The coral garden measures about 20 meters away from the shoreline of Caylabne and approximately 26 meters in depth.

These new discoveries will contribute greatly to the province’s tourism industry.

“Kasi kung io-open po ito as diving site at kung i-offer po ito as a tourist destination ng management board, magkakaroon po ito ng magandang epekto. Malaki pong potensyal ang lugar pag na-open po siya sa turismo. Magkakaroon po ng pagtaas ng pagkita ng mga mamamayan doon aside from that matutulungan po ang ating community ng fisherfolk na kumita na hindi na nila kailangan magextract sa dagat.” Panganiban noted.

“Posible rin na mabawasan ang mga ilegal fishing sa area dahil sila na mismo ang mangangalaga sa lugar dahil iyon ay pinagkakakitaan na nila,” she added.

PENRO Cavite calls on the public to properly manage disposal of waste in their areas to prevent water pollution.

“Sa lahat ng mga mamamayan na nakapaligid po sa Manila Bay, isakatuparan lang po natin ang tamang pagtatapon ng basura dahil ang basura po na nagmumula sa taas yan po ay napupunta sa dagat,” Panganiban said.

“Kahit po mga simpleng pagtatapon ng balat ng candy, malaking katulungan po iyan sa atin na hindi na mapupunta pa sa dagat,” she added reminding the public to observe safety health protocols to fully experience safe and fun travel in the new normal.

DENR calls on sea vessel owners to explain dumping of waste in Manila Bay

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 4, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will summon the owners of sea vessels that dock at the Navotas Fish Port in Baseco, Manila through the Anti-Pollution Task Force.

The DENR, along with the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), conducted an inspection at the Navotas Fish Port on Friday (June 4) to check for metal content, fecal coliform, and grease present in the water.

According to DENR Usec. Benny Antiporda, several sea vessels docked at the Fish Port are dumping waste in Manila Bay.

Antiporda said the department will summon the concerned individuals to explain the issue.

“We will talk to them immediately after this kasi ipasu-summon natin sila sa Anti-Pollution Task Force para magkaroon ng dialogue between sea vessels and the government,” he said.

According to the captain of one of the cargo vessels, Angelito Balitaan, there are instances that they would throw waste in Manila Bay because their vessel does not have a sewage system and they do not have enough funds for sewage repairs.

“Starting na natuto ako nang ganiyan iyan na kinagisnan ko, minana na din iyan wala pang implementation ng mga sewage sewage,” he said.

Meanwhile, the test results of the water samples will be released in a week.  AAC (with reports from JP Nuñez)

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