Expect drastic change in Manila Bay –DENR
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) promised the public that there ill be a drastic change in still polluted Manila Bay.
DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda, gave this statement during the launch of the “Duterte Legacy” campaign at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.
“For the Manila Bay cleanup, the DENR will continue what it has started. What we cannot see in the eyes, we can smell. Or we can see that in this administration is to smell is to believe,” he said in a speech. “We can expect and we can promise you that you will see or you will smell a drastic change in the condition of Manila Bay.”
Though seemingly clean and rehabilitated photos of Manila Bay got viral and made headlines last year, there is still so much left to do. Antiporda said the public can expect a “drastic” change in the present condition of Manila Bay amid the government’s massive efforts to rehabilitate the garbage-littered shoreline.
On Feb. 19, 2019, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Administrative Order (AO) 16, creating the Manila Bay Task Force to expedite the bay’s rehabilitation and restoration of the coastal and marine ecosystem.
In a speech delivered on Thursday, the President blamed embattled water concessionaires Maynilad and Manila Water for the heavy pollution in Manila Bay.
Antiporda said the government’s efforts have gained traction on water quality improvement, solid waste management improvement, informal settlers’ resettlement, and sustained information and education campaign.
“For the water quality improvement, we regularly monitor water quality in bathing beaches, river mouths, and outfalls,” he said. “
We have also set up additional water quality monitoring stations in Metro Manila, inspected commercial establishments for the quality of the effluence they discharged, resulting in the issuance of the cease and desist orders and notice of violations.”
Antiporda said the Department of Tourism has been monitoring establishments to ensure that they comply with environmental rules and regulations.
He added that the DENR has mobilized volunteers in collecting solid waste and in the dredging activities along the Manila Bay.
Antiporda noted that the DENR was able to clear the Estero de San Antonio de Abad in Malate, Manila and Estero de Magdalena Manila Bay, the two “most polluted” estuaries draining to Manila Bay, following the relocation of informal settlers living there.
He said “estero rangers” have likewise been hired to sustain the efforts to clean the two estuaries.
“These estero rangers are designated as our environmental enforcers whose main functions are to police people from throwing their waste in esteros (estuaries) and assist in the collection of garbage in areas that are not reachable by garbage trucks,” Antiporda said.
He said the DENR “did well” in carrying out its mandate to promote a “healthy and clean environment.”
“The DENR has been intensifying its information education and communication campaign to heighten awareness and solicit support from the people,” Antiporda said.