Manila Bay clean-up kicks off

January 26, 2019
Manila Bay

THE Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is calling for volunteers as it joins today the launching of the Manila Bay rehabilitation, which aims to heighten environmental awareness and volunteerism.

The Manila Bay rehabilitation launch, spearheaded by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), will bring together agencies, stakeholders, local government units, environmentalists and volunteers.

MMDA Chairman Danilo Lim is rallying residents of Metro Manila and nearby areas to participate in the multi-sectoral effort of clearing garbage from the shores of Manila Bay along Baywalk, Roxas Boulevard, the phase one of rehabilitation.

“This is a kick-off activity of our long term and massive rehabilitation to restore the beauty of the historic Manila Bay,” said Lim.

At least 1,000 MMDA employees, with various tools, garbage receptacles and equipment, will join in the coastal cleanup along the bay area, from Manila Yacht Club to the US Embassy.

Participants will assemble at the Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park around 6 a.m. for a solidarity walk to the Baywalk area at 7 a.m.

Apart from actually cleaning the foreshore areas of Manila, the activity seeks to educate the public on the need to properly manage their garbage and keep these from reaching Manila Bay.

Lim believes that there is a need to change the habit of people, particularly informal settlers living near esteros, of disposing their waste improperly which contributes to Manila Bay’s pollution.

Solid Waste Management Office personnel will conduct house-to-house flyer distribution and short discussion with residents on waste segregation to minimize solid waste ending up in Manila Bay.

“Simple segregation of garbage, when done habitually, can help get rid of solid waste that goes to the estero and drainage system,” said Lim.

Simultaneously, Flood Control and Sewerage Management Office personnel will conduct dredging works, desilting of some drainage mains and declogging of drainage laterals.

During the activity, volunteers will be given a chance to strengthen and express their commitment to volunteering by writing on a commitment wall.

First aid teams will also be positioned along the baywalk area to assist anyone who gets injured.  Four rubber boats, an ambulance, fire truck, rescue van and support vehicle will also be deployed.

Weekly clean-up

Local government units (LGUs) and barangays along the Manila Bay Watershed Area are now expected to conduct weekly clean-up drives to hasten the rehabilitation of Manila Bay starting today to coincide with the Manila Bay Rehabilitation Program kick-off activities.

According to Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo M. Año, the order and resolve of President Rodrigo Duterte is crystal clear regarding the rehabilitation of the bay and the weekly clean-up will ensure that this directive is enforced.

“The collective efforts and commitment of the LGUs and barangays within the Manila Bay Watershed Area would spell the difference in the rebirth and preservation of our Manila Bay,” said Año.

“As we all know, Manila Bay is polluted and partly, we have ourselves to blame. But it's not too late, we can still make amends. Sabay-sabay at sasama po nating buhayin ang ating Manila Bay,” he added.

Año directs 178 LGUs and 5,714 barangays inside the Manila Bay Watershed Area through DILG Memorandum Circular No. 2019-09 released on January 24, 2019 to “fulfill their roles and responsibilities pursuant to environmental laws that contribute to the rehabilitation of Manila Bay.”

“Sa pamamagitan po nito ay matiyaga naming ipinapaalala sa LGUs at barangays na sa ilalim ng ating batas, mayroon silang responsibilidad at pananagutan sa pagpapanatili ng malinis na Manila Bay,” he said.

With Jun I. Legaspi