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

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Monday, 14 January 2019 06:26 PM

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

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Wednesday, 20 March 2019 07:57 PM

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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DPWH begins dredging, desilting of Manila Bay

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, 5 March 2019 04:49 PM

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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DENR, DPWH to dredge Manila Bay in March

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, 28 February 2019 06:00 AM

File photo: Manila Bay | UNTV Drone

MANILA, Philippines – The public can expect improvement in the water quality of Manila Bay in a few months.

According to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), they are set to dredge all Manila Bay tributaries, along with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to remove the silt and trash that have accumulated underneath over the years.

The DPWH noted that the thick layers of silt and garbage under the Manila Bay have already reduced its water-carrying capacity, affected the water flow and worsened water pollution.

The agency is looking to begin the dredging operation next week, but clarified that this will not be a simple desilting procedure.

“Bagkus ito, tatanggalin mo ‘yung mga taon na, o ilang dekada nang naipon, mga nabulok, natunaw na mga solid sa Manila Bay. So, sa unang hukay namin, halos hindi mo makikilala yung buhangin o halos walang buhangin,” DPWH Bureau of Equipment Director IV Noel Ilao told reporters during an interview on Wednesday.

Footages captured by the UNTV underwater remotely-operated vehicle (ROV) drone in early February revealed the marshy, muddy seabed of Manila Bay, with yellowish to greenish to deep black water as the drone swam deeper — Not a single sign of life could be seen.

Instead, the ROV drone captured an assortment of trash that had taken the place of corals on the seafloor.

Ilao added that at least 20 trucks will be used in the operation to collect the dissolved solids or trash that were dredged up from the Manila bay.

Three amphibious excavators will also be deployed to scour and desilt the 200-meter long shoreline along the 1.5-kilometer stretch of Roxas Boulevard from the Manila Yacht Club Breakwater to the United States Embassy.

Dredged waste and sand will go through a waste segregator machine, after which, separated trash will be temporarily brought to a facility in Bicutan, Taguig City, the DPWH said.

Ilao said the dredging operation may take three months, based on the initial estimation made by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).

“Noong naghukay nga tayo, nag-dry run, nasa dalawang metro na nga tayo, hindi pa natin nakukuha yung nailalabas o na-expose yung buhangin. Baka medyo tumagal,” Ilao said.

“Pero pipilitin namin na mas maikling panahon pero hindi naman ‘yung masabi na nagtrabaho,” Ilao added.

The desilting activity is part of the ongoing rehabilitation of Manila Bay. — Robie de Guzman (with reports from Nel Maribojoc)

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