TO jumpstart the daunting task of rehabilitating Manila Bay, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said it will start tracing sources of wastewater discharged into esteros and gave establishments concerned three months to put up their own sewage treatment plants (STPs).
According to Secretary Roy Cimatu, the country’s clean water law should be strictly implemented to ensure the revival of the now heavily polluted historic bay.
Cimatu said that Republic Act 9275 or the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004 is the key to addressing quality issues and other environment problems to bring the bay’s waters back to pristine quality.
“Establishments have to put up their own sewage treatment plants (STPs). They cannot discharge their wastewater in the esteros,” Cimatu said.
Cimatu recently inspected the Estero de San Antonio de Abad in Malate, Manila where establishments discharge their wastewater.
The environment chief underscored the strategic implementation of the three-phased Manila Bay Action Plan.
Phase 1 is cleanup and improvement of water quality improvement, Phase 2 is rehabilitation, and Phase 3, protection and “sustainment.”
Cimatu said Phase 1 is set to begin this year. It will include the clean-up of esteros and waterways, reduction of the level of fecal coliform and toxic discharges from establishments.
It also includes the provision of temporary sanitation facilities for informal settlers residing along the esteros and the Manila Bay shoreline while solid waste management and planning for the relocation of the informal settlers will also be done.
Cimatu also inspected the Parañaque and Don Galo rivers, which both lead to Manila Bay. These two tributaries have been reported to have high fecal coliform levels.