MANILA - The Department of Environment and Natural Resources denied Friday that the fish mortality reported in the Baseco area was caused by the crushed dolomite used for the Manila Bay makeover project.
DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda said the fish kill happened far from where their project is located.
“Kung ang fish kill nangyari sa area po natin, doon po pupunta ang mga isdang patay doon po sa area natin, which is 'yun po ang pinaka-catchbasin lalo na’t ganitong mayroong habagat,” he said in an interview on ABS-CBN TeleRadyo.
Antiporda added: “Kaya imposible pong sa atin galing 'yan, na 'yung dolomite ang nakamatay. Imposible po.”
The DENR official said dolomitic lime content neutralizes and controls the acid level of the water.
Antiporda said they also regularly conduct water sampling when the weather condition changes to determine the dissolved oxygen level in the water, which could affect marine life.
“Gaya last year, Oct. 10, 2019 nangyari din po 'yan kung saan naglutangan ang mga isda dito naman sa parte ng Parañaque na bumagsak po 'yung 6 milligram per liter po dapat na dissolved oxygen level, bumagsak ng .02 kung kaya’t namatay ang mga isda nung tayo ay nagwater sampling,” he said.
In a statement, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Director Eduardo Gongona said water quality testing in Baseco showed that dissolved oxygen in the area was only at 0.11 mg/L, much lower than the acceptable level of 5 mg/L for aquatic life. Gongona also cautioned against eating fish that are not caught fresh and alive.
But he said they are not discounting other possibilities for the fish kill including the use of cyanide in fishing and sabotage.
“Ang titingnan namin kung may traces ng cyanide. Titingnan din po namin kung ito po ba ay sa fishing o merong nagsasabotahe to discredit the government,” he said.
The DENR said the bay enhancement project began last year and was only halted due to the lockdown in Metro Manila.
“Tuloy-tuloy po yan unless itong mga kritiko natin makapaglabas ng matibay na ebidensiya na nagsasabing meron pong problema dito sa proyekto,” he said.