Planned sewage treatment plant for Baseco to help avert polio spread

Anjo Bagaoisan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 21 2019 12:54 PM

MANILA - A sewage treatment plant is set to be built at the seaside community of Manila's Port Area where a water sample tested positive for the polio virus, a disease that has reemerged in the country nearly 2 decades since it was declared polio-free.

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Danilo Lim told ABS-CBN News this is part of a bigger plan to fix the area's sewerage system. 

Open defecation in Baseco has been cited by the Department of Health as a risk factor in the spread of polio. 

"Kaya kasama dito ang edukasyon ng ating mga kababayan lalo na sa lugar na ito dahil sila ang taga-rito. May mga plano tayo na ayusin ang sewerage system nila dahil hindi puwede 'yung kung saan-saan lang bumutas at 'yung dumi doon, nagsi-seep din 'yan sa ating water table," Lim said. 

(We need to educate the public, particularly residents of this area. We have plans to fix the sewerage system because you cannot just dig a hole and defecate there, that seeps into our water table.)

Lim gave no timetable for when the project would be finished. 

He said the plant would catch wastewater from the 3 esteros in the Baseco area and ensure only one exit for waste water. This would be treated before being released back to the Manila Bay. 

Meanwhile, regular and continuous cleanups such as the International Coastal clean-up Day attended by 15,000 people on Saturday could also help stem the spread of disease in the area, said George Dela Rama of the Pasig River Rehabilitation Council. 

"What we're hoping [for] is that these activities like the cleanup operations would minimize the risk of people having polio. But of course the local government and the national level, [the] DOH, should also intervene and make interventions when it comes to that issue," he said.

He added that aside from getting vaccinated, residents also need to maintain discipline in keeping their environment clean.