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What happened to SC order to save Manila Bay?

/ 12:30 AM August 02, 2014

Six years after the Supreme Court issued a landmark order for 13 government agencies to rid Manila Bay of trash and other pollutants, significant results have yet to be achieved, according to the government body coordinating the cleanup efforts.

An official of the Manila Bay Coordinating Office (MBCO) said the bay’s water quality remained problematic due to the continued dumping of untreated wastewater and garbage.

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MBCO executive director Antonio Gaerlan noted the still-inadequate infrastructure for the treatment of wastewater coming from households and industrial and commercial establishments.

He said wastewater from 86 percent of the 14 million households served by water concessionaires is still directly flushed out into Manila Bay.

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On Dec. 18, 2008, the Supreme Court issued a writ of continuing mandamus directing 13 government agencies to clean up, rehabilitate and eventually preserve Manila Bay. They were given 10 years to do it.

But with a lot still to be done in the rehabilitation process, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and other mandated agencies and partners have revised their Operational Plan for the Manila Bay Coastal Strategy, this time giving themselves a 2013-2017 timeline.

The plan addresses the problem of water pollution, liquid and solid waste management, informal settlers, habitats and resources rehabilitation.

As the lead agency tasked with the bay’s cleanup, the DENR recently launched its latest campaign to spread awareness of the bay’s sorry state.

Gaerlan said the campaign, dubbed “Manila Bayanihan: Para sa Kalinisan” should unify the efforts made by various government agencies for Manila Bay.

The campaign includes the airing of a radio jingle and a 30-second TV commercial, as well as the setup of billboards around Metro Manila and the Central Luzon and Calabarzon regions.

But Gaerlan conceded that “even if we put in the effort, we can not see the effect because the dumping of wastes continues.”

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More than 34 million people live within the basin area but Manila Bay’s problems affect the rest of the country, he noted.

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TAGS: environment, Manila Bay, Pollution, Supreme Court
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