The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will go after establishments polluting Manila Bay by giving notices of violation (NOV) as its scheduled rehabilitation starts this month.

The move aims to help prevent further environmental degradation of the bay and promote compliance to environmental regulations, said DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu at a press conference in Quezon City.

“The move aims to help prevent further environmental degradation of the bay and promote compliance to environmental regulations.”

Issuing notices aims to inform establishments about respective environmental violations so each can undertake measures for addressing these and complying with relevant regulations, Cimatu said.

It is still unclear how many establishments have been identified by the DENR as polluters of Manila Bay.

Cimatu said DENR will continue with its environmental monitoring activities. He assured sanctions for establishments that will not comply with environmental regulations.

“There will be sanctions for establishments that won’t comply with environmental regulations.”

Among the sanctions Cimatu cited includes RA 9275 (Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004), which imposes a fine of up to P200,000 per day of violation.

The rehabilitation of Manila Bay is in line with the 2008 Supreme Court (SC) order for 13 agencies to clean up, rehabilitate and preserve the bay.

These agencies include the environment, agriculture, public works, interior, education, health and budget departments, the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, Local Water Utilities Administration, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, Philippine Coast Guard, the Philippine National Police-Maritime Group and the Philippine Ports Authority.

The High Court ordered these agencies to make Manila Bay’s water fit again for swimming, skin-diving and other forms of contact recreation. The agencies will join forces to achieve that goal, said Cimatu.

“When we reduce coliform level in Manila Bay, water there will be fit for swimming again,” he said.

Decades-long flow of solid waste and untreated discharges into Manila Bay raised the level of coliform bacteria.

Coliform level in Manila Bay is already over 330 million most probable number (MPN) per 100 milliliters, noted the DENR. Such finding elevated the urgency of Manila Bay’s rehabilitation as the safe coliform level is 100 MPN per 100 milliliters only, the DENR said.

“Although Manila Bay is known for having one of the most beautiful sunsets, its waters are considered the most polluted in the country due to domestic sewage, toxic industrial effluents from factories and shipping operations and leachate from garbage dumps, among others,” DENR noted.

 

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