DENR prepares for Manila Bay rehab

MANILA — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is in the thick of preparations this week for the rehabilitation of Manila Bay set to begin later this month.

DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu said the department would spearhead a multi-stakeholder discussion on the plan’s coverage so rehabilitation efforts can be guided accordingly.

“We’ll be holding a meeting with stakeholders to discuss the plan in depth and determine tasks and responsibilities of stakeholders involved in the rehabilitation,” Cimatu said at the 10th International Water Association Conference on Efficient Urban Water Management in Pasay City on Monday.

The rehabilitation operations of Manila Bay, a major fishing ground, will begin on January 27.

Cimatu said decades-long flow of solid waste and untreated discharges into Manila Bay raised the level of harmful coliform bacteria to over 330 million most probable number (MPN) per 100 milliliters. The safe level is 100 MPN per 100 milliliters only.

The environment chief noted that the rehabilitation plan would be “dynamic” as this would accommodate new inputs when necessary.

“Along the way, if there’s additional inputs that should be incorporated in the plan, we’ll do it,” he said.
Several companies have also pledged support for the rehabilitation, including private water concessionaire Maynilad Water Services Inc., which will provide guidance on pipe-laying, Cimatu said.

DENR has not yet identified companies that signified intention to help rehabilitate Manila Bay but Cimatu expressed gratitude for the offers of support.

Last week, Cimatu conducted an ocular inspection of pipes discharging into Manila Bay and trace the sources of untreated wastewater so that corrective measures can be undertaken to prevent the bay’s further degradation.

Earlier, the DENR reported undertaking several measures for the bay’s rehabilitation, including the establishment of the Manila Bay command center under the agency’s National Capital Region office.

The center will oversee zonal operations of a field office in each of Metro Manila’s coastal areas of Manila, Las Piñas, Pasay-Parañaque and Malabon-Navotas.

DENR also reported looking into technologies for treating water pollutants in Manila Bay. The agency will also run after violators of environmental laws, tapping the help of law enforcers in bringing these culprits to justice.

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