The Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority kick off what is expected to be a five-year program to rehabilitate Manila Bay starting today, with thousands of government workers and volunteers leading a multi-sectoral effort.
Around 1,000 MMDA employees are set to join Sunday’s activity to revive the highly polluted waterway, which the DENR said will also be carried out simultaneously in the Central Luzon and Calabarzon provinces bordering the bay.
The MMDA will also close the southbound lane of Roxas Boulevard in Manila, from Kalaw Street to President Quirino Avenue, to vehicular traffic from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m., in connection with the launching of the Duterte administration’s latest environmental rescue.
Environment Undersecretary Benny Antiporda had announced in a radio interview on Saturday that cleanup efforts will happen simultaneously in Pampanga, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, and Bataan in Region III, and in Cavite in Region IV-A.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines has also expressed its support for the cleanup, Antiporda said.
The work, he said, would be divided into sections along Manila’s waterways and tributaries of the bay, which would be addressed by the inter-agency task for to ensure their cleanliness and prevent others from adding to the bay’s pollution.
MMDA Chairman Danilo Lim urged residents of Metro Manila and nearby areas to take part in the effort of clearing garbage from the shores of Manila Bay along Baywalk and Roxas Boulevard, which will be the first phase of the rehabilitation.
“This is a kick-off activity of our long term and massive rehabilitation to restore the beauty of the historic Manila Bay,” Lim said in a statement Saturday.
The activity likewise aims to create awareness of proper waste disposal in order to avoid these reaching the waters of Manila Bay.
MMDA personnel with various tools, garbage receptacles and equipment will join in the coastal cleanup from the Manila Yacht Club to the United States Embassy.
Its Solid Waste Management Office personnel will distribute flyers and discuss with residents on waste segregation to minimize solid waste ending up at the Manila Bay.
The MMDA’s Flood Control and Sewerage Management Office personnel will conduct dredging works, desilting of some drainage mains, and de-clogging of drainage laterals.
Antiporda said the task force will first address the “billionaire’s areas,” so-called due to its billions of bacteria or a high number of coliform level.
Condominiums, hotels, restaurants and shopping centers found to be discharging their wastewater into Manila Bay will be issued notices of violations, the Environment undersecretary added.
Antiporda cited a study by the Laguna Lake Development Authority citing about four to five establishments found to be major contributors of pollution in Manila Bay.
Participants will assemble at the Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park at 6 a.m. for a solidarity walk to the Baywalk area at 7 a.m.
Volunteers will be asked to write on a commitment wall to signify their willingness for volunteerism during the activity.
First-aid teams will also be positioned along the baywalk area to administer medical assistance in case anyone gets injured. Four rubber boats, ambulance, fire truck, rescue van, and support vehicle will also be dispatched.
DENR and its partners decided to implement the rehabilitation as water pollution has worsened in Manila Bay for the past few years.
Among the agencies that are set to participate are the DENR, Department of Agriculture, Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Education, Department of Health, Department of Budget and Management, MMDA, Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine National Police-Maritime Group and Philippine Ports Authority. With PNA
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