A VETERAN journalist representing Luntiang Pilipinas party-list group yesterday supported President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte’s order for Environment Sec. Roy Cimatu and Interior Sec. Eduardo Año to start the cleanup of the most famous but heavily polluted bodies of water in the country.
Luntiang Pilipinas first nominee Michael Ubac, a former Inquirer reporter who covered the House of Representatives, said Cimatu and Año face a three-pronged problem in cleaning the Bay.
Ubac, an ex-deskman, cited the lack of wastewater treatment facilities of hotels and big establishments that dump their untreated wastewater into the Bay; the liquid waste from households and solid waste that end up in the Bay; and the toxic industrial effluents discharged by factories and ships. About 1,500 tons of waste are illegally dumped daily on private land, in rivers, creeks and in the Bay, said Ubac based to a study by the Asian Development Bank.
Previous audits undertaken by Greenpeace and EcoWaste Coalition showed that at least 70 percent of Manila Bay wastes are plastic bags and packaging.
President Duterte’s order is necessary to save Manila Bay, the partylist group said.
“Manila Bay is dying. What compounds the problem is the lack of an effective roadmap for reviving this body of water despite a Supreme Court order issued ten years ago. It’s good that we have taken notice of this wanton disregard of our environmental laws. We should exert all efforts to clean it up,” said Ubac, a veteran journalist.
Sen. Loren Legarda, founder of Luntiang Pilipinas Partylist and author of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, called attention to the massive degradation of Manila Bay.
She noted that Manila Bay is one of Metro Manila’s crowning glories, boasting the best view of the sunset in the country “and yet it continues to be neglected: the view of the otherwise beautiful sunset is marred by styrofoam containers, plastic bags, discarded appliances and many other solid waste.”
“It’s time that we take a stand against this pollution and degradation. Let us take Manila Bay back and let us, above all, work towards a healthy, sustainable and disaster-resilient future through initiating and supporting concerted clean-up efforts,” said Legarda, the United Nations Global Champion for Resilience.
The President on Tuesday night warned hotels along Manila Bay, particularly those that do not have wastewater treatment plants, to “do something about your waste there, otherwise I will close (the hotels).”
“So hotels should put [up] water treatment plants, or I will shut them down,” the President said in a speech at a barangay summit on the peace process in Pasay City.