MANILA - Manila Bay will be closed Wednesday to pave way for the massive cleanup of the heavily polluted water body, an official overseeing the rehabilitation said Tuesday.
Environment Undersecretary Benny Antiporda said the entire stretch of the Baywalk, from the US Embassy to Manila Yacht Club, will be fenced off.
"Ire-renovate na siya to become world-class," he told "Bandila sa DZMM."
The project, which experts said could take years and is estimated at P47 billion, came after Boracay Island underwent a 6-month rehabilitation.
During the interview, Antiporda reminds the public that Manila Bay is not safe for swimming.
Results of a water sampling conducted last January showed that its its level of coliform or contaminants present in the water, such as fecal matter, was at 330 million most probable number (mpn). The safe level should be at 100 mpn per 100 ml.
"Sabihin na lang natin na may sakit 'yung pinanggalingan ng dumi, 'yan po ay maaaring makahawa doon sa makalunok ng tubig o mapunta sa kanilang open wounds," he said.
"Sa ibabaw, nakita natin malinis na, walang solid waste. Ang problema, sa ilalim natin, maraming bubog diyan, maraming boteng basag diyan, so malaki ang posibilidad na marami ang madidisgrasya," he added.
An 11-year-old girl nearly drowned while swimming in Manila Bay. The child is currently confined at the pediatric intensive care unit.
Heavier penalties, Antiporda said, will also be imposed against establishments that contribute to the pollution in the Manila Bay.
Untreated wastewater were recently found in the bay, which he said could have come from a restaurant.
"May duda po tayo sa kanila galing ito... lalo pong bibigat ang penalties nila," he said.
The Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) earlier issued a cease and desist order against 3 restaurants after they were found out to be sources of "pollutive wastewater" in the bay.