EMB: Protecting Manila Bay is protecting the future (Business Mirror (Philippines))

IF we are not going to protect the water quality of Manila Bay and Laguna de Bay, then we should not expect there would be life after our generation.

This was the warning made by Engr. Vizminda Osorio, regional director of Environmental Management Bureau-National Capital Region, during the cleanup and rehabilitation project spearheaded by Manila Bay Sunset Partnership Program Inc. (MBSPPI) in Manila Bay section near the US Embassy on Saturday.

Besides the usual garbage of PET bottles, plastic bags and diaper wastes taken from the bay, refrigerator, wood planks, tree branches and bamboo pieces were also gathered by 1,000 volunteers, including Miss Earth beauties.

The garbages were placed in sacks. MBSPPI is spearheaded by the Land Bank of the Philippines. The cleanup drive is part of LandBank’s 52nd anniversary celebration. Osorio expressed worries as she disclosed that as of last week, the total coliform bacteria count is 100 million because of the garbage accumulating in Manila Bay.

That is very alarming because we are already exceeded the standard of 5,000 coliform bacteria. Can you imagine how contaminated the water in Manila Bay is? she said in an interview with the BusinessMirror.

She said the government, the private sector and non-governmental organizations should work together and strengthen all the efforts to clean Manila Bay for the sake of the next generation.

There were many efforts [made], but it takes time [to clean Manila Bay]. We, at the DENR [Department of Environment and Natural Resources], are doing all the best we can to remediate this kind of environmental problem¦. Nobody would solve our problem except ourselves, Osorio said.

This [cleanup drive] is the start, so the next generation will have a safe and better environment.

Before the cleanup drive, the MBSPPI launched an information and education campaign, entitled That Thing Called Basura, to boost the public’s environmental awareness by educating them on the urgent need for proper waste management.

MBSPPI produced a short audio-visual production (AVP) campaign on proper waste disposal that reinforced the reduce, reuse, recycle, plus discipline, equals zero solid waste concept.

The AVP will be played in various channels, such as corporate web sites and social-media sites, in all MBSPPI members and offices of government agencies, terminals and other public places.

The highlight of the program was the turnover of the portion of proceeds from the Manila Bay Fun Run on July 11. The proceeds, amounting to P119,795 will be used for the cleanup operations in the coming years. We are optimistic that this campaign will prompt behavioral change among the public. We encourage everyone’s active participation in sharing this campaign with your circles, most especially with your respective community, LandBank President and CEO Gilda E. Pico said. Pico is also an honorary chairman of MBSPPI.

Pico said their share in protecting the environment is not only the cleanup drive, but to make sure that those who want to borrow money from the bank for a certain business are compliant to the environmental requirements so as not to ultimately cause environmental problem in the future.

She said the cleanup drive is done quarterly. This is the 12th year that LandBank has done it and the sixth year with the MBSPPI.

MBSPPI members include the government of the city of Manila; the DENR; Diamond Hotel Philippines; Manila Ocean Park; Manila Yacht Club; Landbankers’ Multi-Purpose Cooperative; Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila; the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority; University of the Philippines Manila; Polytechnic University of the Philippines; Cooperative Development Authority; Manila Broadcasting Co.; Miss Earth Foundation Inc.; and the Polystyrene Packaging Council of the Philippines.

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