MANILA - The lack of sewerage coverage in Metro Manila is "10 times worse" than that of Boracay island, which is facing possible closure to rehabilitate its fouled waters, a regulator said Wednesday.
The region, home to 15 million people, has only met 14 percent of its required number of sewerage treatment plants, which remove contaminants from the wastewater before it is dumped in rivers and bays, said Patrick Lester Ty, chief regulator of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS).
"[Ito'y] mga 10 times worse than Boracay," he told DZMM, noting that the holiday island only has a transient population of 100,000.
"Ang problema sa Metro Manila hindi lang naman po sa waste water; kasama rin po ang solid waste... Kahapon lang po, tiningnan namin ang Manila Bay, Pasig River up to Laguna Bay -- ang dumi po. Nakita po namin ang tubig, may mga diaper, sapatos, kung ano-ano pang basura," he added.
(This is about 10 times worse that Boracay. Metro Manila's problem is not just waste water, but also solid waste. We inspected Manila Bay and Pasig River up to Laguna Bay yesterday -- they were polluted. Diapers, shoes and various trash were floating there.)
A Supreme Court decision, he said, gave water concessionaires Maynilad and Manila Water until 2037 to complete the sewerage coverage of the region.
The firms are in talks with MWSS on how to fast-track the construction of additional P200-billion STPs, taking into account possible water bill hikes and traffic disruption, said Ty.
The official said he has also sought help from the environment and public works departments to address the issue.