Sunday, August 26, 2012

Philippine Coast Guard assures further Manila Bay clean-up

The Philippine Coast Guard targets acquiring additional boats for use in its nationwide operations, including more garbage clean-ups in polluted Manila Bay.

PCG Deputy Chief of Staff for Marine Environmental Protection Commander Luisito Sibayan said this year, the agency expects acquiring at least 400 rubber boats as well as rigid and aluminum hull boats for distribution to its units across the country.

”Those boats will help facilitate our regular operations nationwide and garbage clean-up activities in Manila Bay,” he said Saturday when the PCG joined other government agencies and private groups in removing trash from that water body.

Media giant Manila Broadcasting Company spearheaded thesynchronized clean-up event in Manila Bay as part of its corporate social responsibility.

The event covered Manila Bay’s stretch from Region III to National Capital Region (NCR) to Region IV-A.

Authorities describe Manila Bay as the catch basin of waters from rivers and tributaries in NCR as well as in Bataan, Pampanga, Bulacan, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal provinces.

Sibayan said the PCG will continue being active in cleaning up Manila Bay as this is in line with its mandate to protect the country’s marine environment.

PCG’s clean-up drive is also aligned with the Supreme Court order for government to rid Manila Bay of garbage so this water body can again truly function as an economic driver.

Citing a 2005 partial economic valuation study on Manila Bay, Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA) earlier reported that uses of resources and benefits derived from key habitats there have a total value of over P8 billion per year.

Uses of Manila Bay’s resources include fisheries, aquaculture, tourism and shipping while mangroves are among key habitats there, PEMSEA noted.

PEMSEA clarified, however, that the study also showed the value of damages to Manila Bay’s ecosystems plus the resulting social and economic impacts totaled some P4 billion annually.

The impacts include water pollution and onslaught of red tide, authorities said.

Aside from conducting its own clean-up of Manila Bay, PCG Manila Station Commander Gregorio Adel said the agency undertakes similar activities upon the invitation of other institutions.

”We do around three to five clean-ups a month,” he said.

For the synchronized clean-up event, Sibayan said the PCG covered Manila Bay’s stretch from South Harbor to Manila Ocean Park beside the Quirino Grandstand in Manila’s Rizal Park.

Adel said the PCG deployed about 600 of its personnel and volunteers to remove garbage in the area.

They were able to gather over 500 sacks of assorted garbage for hauling to disposal facilities, he noted.

”Plastics accounted for most of the garbage gathered,” he said.

A group of high school students and teachers from Manila-based Antonio Maceda Integrated School observed PCG’s clean-up activities during the synchronized event.

”We want our students to be truly aware of the garbage problem,” said Lagrimas Panadero, adviser of the school’s paper ‘Ang Pintig.’

She plans to have the paper feature garbage so the school’s population can be better informed about this menace and motivated to help address the matter.

Even simple ways like avoiding littering can go a long way in helping address the problem, she noted.

Earlier, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) launched its Adopt-an-Estero program to help address pollution in waterways, including those draining into Manila Bay.

Under the program, private groups choose which waterways or parts of these to clean up, using their respective resources.

DENR complements such private initiatives by conducting, in communities along the chosen waterways, information and education campaigns on proper garbage disposal as well as on recycling and reusing trash.

The agency reported already signing with private groups over 200 agreements on the clean-up activities.

Authorities earlier estimated about 21 percent of Manila Bay’s organic pollution load comes from the Pasig River basin.

Households account for some 70 percent of such pollution load, they added.-Interaksyon (August 25, 2012 11:25PM)

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