Droves back in Manila's Baywalk after barrier removed

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 10 2019 11:20 AM | Updated as of Feb 10 2019 01:48 PM

Hundreds of sightseers frolicked Sunday at the capital's Baywalk area after part of the barrier there was removed just days after it was put up to bar people from swimming in the polluted waters.

Authorities last Wednesday shuttered the shoreline from the US Embassy to Manila Yacht Club, following a surge of tourists at the start of Manila Bay's massive cleanup. The barrier is expected to last 6 months, said Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu.

The grill fence at the US Embassy area, however, has been taken down, giving people easy access to the beach, where sunsets lure hundreds of sightseers daily.

Environment Undersecretary Benny Antiporda said a new barrier will "soon" be installed along the area's seawall.
    
Other parts of the Baywalk, where there are no beach, were still fenced off.

The cleanup of Manila Bay and surrounding areas started last Jan. 27, following the 6-month rehabilitation of Boracay Island which ended in October last year.

The quality of water off the bay has started to improve while tons of garbage were collected by volunteers and government workers, the environment department said.

Despite these improvements, it was still unsafe to bathe in Manila Bay due to the fecal coliform content of the water, said the agency.

Manila Bay's rehabilitation could take years and is estimated to cost P47 billion, experts earlier said.

Thousands participate in the yearly cleanup of Manila Bay, but the area gets swamped by garbage again during the rainy season.

Report from Jekki Pascual, ABS-CBN News