By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
All establishments within the Manila Bay region are now required to connect to existing sewer lines or set up their own sewerage treatment plants (STP) to ensure that wastewater is properly collected and treated.
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu, who chairs the Manila Bay Task Force, issued the order under Memorandum Circular 2019-01 as part of the rehabilitation of the heavily polluted water body.
The circular covers all government facilities, subdivisions, condominiums, commercial centers, hotels, sports and recreational facilities, hospitals, marketplaces, public buildings, industrial complex and other similar establishments.
Under the circular, these establishments were required to either “connect to existing sewerage systems or to construct individual (STPs).”
“The Manila Bay region covered by the circular encompasses the entire bay coastline of 190 kilometers and the total drainage area of about 17,540 square kilometers across Regions 3, 4A and the National Capital Region,” the DENR chief said.
Cimatu said the circular was pursuant to the provisions of Republic Act (RA) 9275 or the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004 and President Duterte’s Administrative Order No. 16, entitled “Expediting the Rehabilitation and Restoration of the Coastal and Marine Ecosystem of the Manila Bay and creating the Manila Bay Task Force.”
More than two months since the launch of the massive rehabilitation of Manila Bay, DENR and the Laguna Lake Development Authority have already issued hundreds of notices of violation and cease and desist orders to establishments found to have violated RA 9275 and other pertinent environmental laws.
Prior to the start of the rehabilitation, fecal coliform level in Manila Bay was at 330 million most probable number (mpn). The standard set for swimming is at 100 mpn/100ml.
DENR targets to restore the quality of waters of Manila Bay to Class SB level to make them fit for swimming, skin-diving and other forms of contact recreation.