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

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Monday, January 14th, 2019

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)

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DPWH to sue driver of truck that caused part of Roxas Blvd. to collapse

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, June 24th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is planning to file charges against the driver of a dump truck which caused a part of the Roxas Boulevard to collapse on Sunday while it was transporting sand for the ongoing rehabilitation of Manila Bay.

DPWH district engineer Mikunug Macud said they would file charges against the driver of the 14-wheeled truck for violating the load limit and passing through a secondary road where trucks are banned from traversing.  

The incident happened at past 1:00 a.m. along Roxas Boulevard corner Remedios street in Ermita, Manila.

The truck, which came from Pampanga, was heading to Manila Baywalk to deliver tons of sand for the Manila Bay rehabilitation project when it fell into a hole.

According to the truck driver, he was supposed to take Roxas Boulevard’s main road but traffic law enforcers allegedly directed them to pass through the service road to give way to a fun run event.

Macud said the truck carrying sand weighed about 42 tons while the Remedios street could only accommodate 20 tons.

The portion of the road that collapsed was built over a double barrel box culvert, which served as one of the city’s main drainage system. It was built in the 1970s.

“Dapat ang driver, alam niya ‘yung dapat daanan niya… hindi naman siya talaga dapat dumaan diyan kasi mayroon naman silang mga designated area,” Macud said.

The Remedios street was temporarily closed to traffic as authorities are still trying to extricate the truck out of the hole.

The DPWH hopes to immediately remove the truck to commence repairs on the damaged road. (with details from Asher Cadapan Jr.)

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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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