The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is now requiring all establishments within the Manila Bay region to connect to existing sewer lines or set up their own sewerage treatment plants (STP) to ensure that wastewater is properly collected and treated according to DENR standards. The Manila Bay region covered by the circular encompasses the entire bay coastline of 190 kilometers and the total drainage area of about 17,540 square kilometers across Regions III, IV-A and the National Capital Region.
This latest requirement is contained in Memorandum Circular 2019-01 recently issued by DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu, who chairs the inter-agency Manila Bay Task Force in charge of rehabilitating the heavily polluted water body. The circular covers all government facilities, subdivisions, condominiums, commercial centers, hotels, sports and recreational facilities, hospitals, market places, public buildings, industrial complex and other similar establishments. Under the circular, these establishments were required to either “connect to existing sewerage systems or to construct individual STPs.”
The circular is pursuant to the provisions of Republic Act 9275 or the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004 and President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s Administrative Order No. 16, entitled “Expediting the Rehabilitation and Restoration of the Coastal and Marine Ecosystem of the Manila Bay and creating the Manila Bay Task Force.”
On January 27, the DENR launched the three-phase rehabilitation dubbed as “Battle for Manila Bay” where over 10,000 people joined a massive cleanup activity on Roxas Boulevard in Manila and other parts of the Manila Bay region. More than two months since the launch, the DENR and the Laguna Lake Development Authority have already issued hundreds of notices of violation and cease and desist orders to establishments found to have violated RA 9275 and other pertinent Environmental laws.
Prior to the start of the rehabilitation, fecal coliform level in Manila Bay was at 330 million most probable number (mpn). The standard set for swimming is at 100 mpn/100ml. The DENR targets to restore the quality of waters of Manila Bay to Class SB level to make them fit for swimming, skin-diving and other forms of contact recreation.
(Sources: Department of Environment and Natural Resources)