Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu has called on all government offices around the Manila Bay region to ensure their compliance with the country’s clean water and solid waste management laws in line with the upcoming rehabilitation of the heavily polluted bay.
Cimatu said government buildings located near Manila Bay should set a good example to commercial and residential establishments by complying with environmental laws, particularly the Clean Water Act of 2004 and the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.
“Manila Bay is in critical condition and proper wastewater discharge and solid waste disposal play a key role to reviving it,” the environment chief said.
The environment head made the remarks as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and other government agencies are set to begin Manila Bay’s rehabilitation on Jan. 27.
Cimatu said it is important for government offices, particularly those located in the Manila Bay area, to make sure they are connected to sewer lines or have their own sewage treatment plants for proper wastewater disposal.
Cimatu also reminded government offices to manage their solid waste to minimize the volume of trash that end up in landfills or in bodies of water, such as Manila Bay.
Solid waste, he said, remains a huge problem in the country owing to non-segregation, rampant use of single-use plastic packaging and improper waste disposal.
Starting Jan. 27, the DENR will clamp down on all establishments discharging untreated wastewater either directly into the Manila Bay or into esteros (estuaries), creeks and rivers leading to the bay.
Establishments found to be ignoring environmental laws could face closure or be made to pay fines of up to P200,000 a day.
“We will issue notices of violation to non-compliant establishments or we will shut them down,” Cimatu warned. “Until they comply, they cannot operate.”
“We will issue notices of violation to non-compliant establishments or we will shut them down. Until they comply, they cannot operate.”
He also underscored the need for these establishments to “consciously practice” the 3Rs—reduce, reuse and recycle—for better solid waste management.
“Segregation at source is a simple practice that, when done habitually, will rid not just Metro Manila but the entire country of solid waste that pollutes land, water and air,” Cimatu pointed out.
“Segregation at source is a simple practice that, when done habitually, will rid not just Metro Manila but the entire country of solid waste that pollutes land, water and air.”
He also appealed to local government units to manage their septage by ensuring that all commercial and residential establishments in their areas are treating their wastewater prior to discharge to water bodies.
At the same time, Cimatu said it is also important to educate residents on their responsibilities and roles in keeping Manila Bay clean.
“With education, we can clean up Manila Bay, we can sustain it, and we can preserve the revived Manila Bay,” he said.