Water Quality Improvement in Manila Bay in 2021, Rehab to Continue in 2022

Jan 2022

The Philippines Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has reported significant gains in the water quality of Manila Bay in 2021 as it vows to carry on its rehabilitation work in 2022, in compliance with the continuing mandamus of the Supreme Court.

According to the DENR, the rehabilitation had a number of achievements due to its solid waste management strategies, geo-engineering interventions, and compliance monitoring of establishments, among others, around the Manila Bay area in the National Capital Region (NCR), Region 3, and Region 4A.

  • Data from the Manila Bay Coordinating Office (MBCO) revealed that the Baywalk area, which is a priority in the rehabilitation, registered a notable decrease in coliform levels in all its nine key stations. It recorded an average of 21,100 most probable number per 100 milliliters (mpn/100mL) as of the third quarter of 2021, from 5.75 million mpn/100 mL in 2019.
  • On the other hand, four key stations in the Baseco beach area registered a decrease in coliform level from an overall geomean of 145,000 mpn/100 mL in 2020 to 21,500 mpn/100 mL in September 2021.
  • The MBCO reported that in September 2021, the Baywalk Sewage Treatment Plant (STP), which treats wastewater from the Padre Faura, Remedios, and Estero de San Antonio de Abad outfalls, received an influent of 8.8 million mpn/100mL and released an effluent of 9.4 mpn/100ml, passing the fecal coliform standard of 100 mpn/100mL for Class SB waters.
  • In the same month, the fecal coliform level in Obando, Talisay, and Pampanga rivers in Region 3 which are aiming for Class C water standard of 200 mpn/100 mL, only ranges in thousands. The Cañas River in Region 4A recorded 106,000 mpn/200 mL from 9.6 million mpn/200 mL last January 2021.
  • Meanwhile, the coliform level of nine bathing beach areas, which aim to achieve a Class SB level across the NCR, Region 3, and Region 4A, has decreased in thousands, as of MBCO’s latest data.
  • In one of the three sampling stations of the Dolomite Beach, the coliform level has significantly gone down to 1,700 mpn/100 mL as of December 22, 2021 from a geomean of 1.6 million last September 2020. Other stations also recorded notable decreases in coliform levels.

Notably, this improvement in water quality can be attributed to the following major projects of the government:

  • DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau in NCR, Regions 3 and 4A, and the Laguna Lake Development Authority issued Notices of Violation to 685 establishments, Cease and Desist Orders to five establishments, and Ex-Parte Orders to five establishments out of the 4,576 establishments inspected from January to September 2021 for violation of Republic Act 9275 or the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004.
  • In terms of solid waste management, a total 50,618.94 cubic meters of garbage from shorelines, waterways, rivers, and beaches were collected and disposed from 19,088 cleanup activities including collection from trash traps and trash boats, and declogging conducted from January to September 2021 by the DENR involving 82,151 volunteers and estero rangers.
  • The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has also collected and disposed of 17,946.1 cubic meters of solid waste.
  • The Task Force Water Hyacinth which was created in 2021, led the collection of a total of 76,224 sacks of water hyacinth in Manila Bay.
  • Geo-engineering interventions conducted by the Department of Public Works and Highways and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority in the Baywalk area such as the installation of HDPE (high-density polyethylene) pipes for the Padre Faura, Remedios, and Abad Outfalls, and desilting, among others, are nearing completion.
  • The DENR-San Miguel Corporation partnership resulted in a total volume dredged of 511,432 cubic meters with an effective length of 5,215 meters in the Tullahan-Tinajeros River from June 12, 2020, to October 31, 2021. A total volume of 35,500 cubic meters was dredged for the period July 8 to September 21, 2021, in the Pasig River.

(Source: Department of Environment and Natural Resources)

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