The massive cleanup of Manila Bay that began in late January is expected to bring a "drastic change" in its polluted waters within at least 6 months, the environment department said Sunday.
Tons of garbage have been carted off by thousands of volunteers and government workers from the bay since the cleanup started last Jan. 27.
"Within 6 months to one year, may mararamdaman po tayong drastic change dito po sa water quality natin," Environment Undersecretary Benny Antiporda told DZMM.
(Within 6 months to one year, we will feel a drastic change here in our water quality.)
The fecal coliform content of water samples from the bay's Ermita area has gone down to 7.9 million most probable number (mpn) from the previous 330 mpn, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said last Wednesday.
Fecal content in the Remedios area also slid to 65 million mpn from 160 mpn, while that of the Manila Yacht Club was at 52 million mpn, down from 1.3 billion mpn, he added.
It may take 7 years for water quality to reach 100 mpn, which is classified as safe for recreational activities such as swimming, said Antiporda.
The rehabilitation of the whole Manila Bay and its tributaries meanwhile may take up to 20 years, he said.
This, he added, will require not just the removal of trash but a crackdown on fishpens, dumpsites and ships that contribute to the bay's pollution.
Experts earlier estimated that the cleanup will cost P47 billion. The project came after Boracay island underwent a 6-month rehabilitation that ended in October last year.
DZMM, 10 January 2019