Manila Bay waters off Bataan now ‘swimmable’

Manila Bay waters off Bataan now ‘swimmable’
By Catherine Teves

MANILA (Philippines News Agency) – Efforts to rehabilitate Manila Bay are beginning to bear fruit.

According to Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu, he received reports swimming is already possible in some waters off Bataan province which is among areas along Manila Bay.

“We’re improving in terms of cleaning up Manila Bay,” he said Tuesday (April 2) in Quezon City after signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with integrated property developer SM Prime Holdings (SMPH) Inc. formalizing the company’s participation in the rehabilitation.

Government is rehabilitating Manila Bay so its water can be fit again for swimming and other forms of contact recreation activities.

Cimatu said Mariveles and Orion were the first municipalities in Bataan to report improvement in quality of water near respective shores.

“That means they were able to reduce level of coliform bacteria in water there,” he said.

Coliforms are bacteria that are present in the digestive tracts of animals, including humans, and are found in their wastes. Presence of coliform bacteria indicates contamination of a body of water and as such has potential to cause disease.

He isn’t discounting the possibility of traveling to Mariveles and Orion to get more information on water quality improvement as reported by the officials of said LGUs.

DENR said decades-long flow of solid waste and untreated discharges into Manila Bay raised level of coliform bacteria in this water body to over 330 million most probable number (MPN) per 100 milliliters before the rehabilitation commenced.

The safe coliform level is 100 MPN per 100 milliliters only. Such level indicates water is safe for contact recreation activities like swimming, DENR noted.

Cimatu thanked SMPH for deciding to help rehabilitate Manila Bay.

“SMPH is now entering into an MOU with DENR, Pasay and Paranaque cities to develop and implement a comprehensive program intended to reduce pollution in Estero de Tripa de Gallina and Paranaque River, two critical tributaries of Manila Bay,” he announced at the MOU-signing ceremony.

DENR also appreciates Pasay and Paranaque LGUs’ continuing efforts on addressing waste in respective communities — as required under RA 9003 (Ecological Solid Waste Management Act) — to lessen pollution and complement the cleanup SMPH will undertake, he said.

“We can’t win the battle for Manila Bay if we can’t improve water quality in waterways,” Cimatu added. (PNA)

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