Manila Bay checked for compliance with SC cleanup ruling

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 02 2019 11:42 AM | Updated as of Jan 02 2019 12:19 PM

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MANILA -- Local officials who failed to implement a Supreme Court order to clean up Manila Bay may face administrative charges, an environment official said Wednesday, as authorities began checking sewage pipes that drain into the "very polluted" area.

Manila Bay is in a "worse" state 10 years after the Supreme Court directed government agencies and local government units to rehabilitate it, Environment Undersecretary Sherwin Rigor said.

Manila Bay has an average 330 million most probable number (mpn) of fecal coliform for every liter, 3.3 million times above the standard 100 mpn that is ideal for swimming, he said.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government is "checking on the records of all levels of local government units" to see if there was a "failure" to implement environmental laws, he said.

"That includes some government officials who allowed the proliferation of informal settlers [because] these are major contributors to the waste discharged in waterways, esteros that end up in the Manila Bay," he said.

Of the 12 outfalls in the Manila Bay, the most polluted is near the Manila Yacht Club where the coliform level is at 1.3 billion mpn, Rigor said.

Among the institutions connected to that particular drainage are the Ospital ng Maynila, Manila Zoo, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, hotels near Roxas Boulevard and the De La Salle University in Taft Avenue, he said.

Three other outfalls discharge water with over a billion coliform per liter, he said. 

The DENR plans to spend some P3 billion to decrease the coliform level in the Manila Bay over the next 5 years.

Silt curtains, temporary toilets and sewage lines will be put up to reduce the average coliform level to 250-270 million by the end of 2019, Rigor said.

"We need to manage expectations... We may reduce it but for this year, SB (swimming) quality, is not possible," he said.