MANILA - A day before the official launch of the Manila Bay rehabilitation program, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Saturday called for volunteers to join the first phase of the interagency effort to cleanup the popular bay.
MMDA Chairman Danilo Lim asked residents of Metro Manila and nearby areas to participate in the clearing of garbage from the shores of Manila Bay along Baywalk, Roxas Boulevard.
"This is a kick-off activity of our long-term and massive rehabilitation to restore the beauty of the historic Manila Bay," said Lim in a statement Saturday.
The MMDA said at least 1,000 of its employees will join the coastal cleanup along the bay area's stretch from the Manila Yacht Club to the US Embassy.
Participants and volunteers will assemble at the Quirino Grandstand at Rizal Park at 6 a.m. for a "solidarity walk" to the Baywalk area at 7 a.m., the agency said in a statement.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will begin on January 27 the rehabilitation of the popular tourist spot in Manila, which has long been plagued by a trash problem.
Government is eyeing the use of revenues from the road users' tax for the effort.
The rehabilitation plan was set after President Rodrigo Duterte warned establishments along the bay to comply with environment regulations or face closure.
Results of a water sampling in the area showed that Manila Bay's average fecal coliform level was at 330 million most probable number (mpn), 3.3 million times above the standard 100 mpn that is ideal for swimming.
The DENR said some 40,000 families living near the bay were major contributors to pollution.
Apart from cleaning the foreshore areas of Manila Bay, participants will also learn about proper garbage management, Lim said.
"Simple segregation of garbage, when done habitually, can help get rid of solid waste that goes to the estero and drainage system," he said.