DENR to issue notices of violation to Manila Bay polluters

MANILA -- 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.

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

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

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

The department will continue its environmental monitoring activities so this agency can be served NOV, Cimatu said. He assured sanctions for establishments that won't comply with environmental regulations.

Among sanctions he cited are those in RA 9275 (Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004), which include a fine of up to PHP200,000 per day of violation.

Rehabilitating Manila Bay is in line with the 2008 Supreme Court (SC) order for 13 agencies to clean up, rehabilitate and preserve this body of water.

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

SC ordered the 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 such 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 there.

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

"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 said in its Dec. 16, 2018 press release. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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