Manila Bay is beautiful to look at from the skies as flights take off and land, but it has been a polluted sewage dump for years. The Philippine Government has been planning to clean up Manila Bay since 2008, and in 2019, the gigantic task commenced.
Both the military and the public have removed the majority of the visible trash from the shoreline, and there are talks about how to prevent the re-occurrence of this issue. More significantly, Manila water utilities are working hard to build more sewage treatment plants and offer de-sludging for areas not connected to the main sewage systems.
Additionally, the informal settlers living on the shorelines pose significant challenges to the government – their relocation and how to address the raw sewage flowing to the bay.
PhilStar Global reports:
“Saving Manila Bay does not only involve building STPs. It requires implementation and enforcement of solid waste management plans, resettlement of informal settlers and removal of illegal structures, greening projects, and restoration of mangrove areas, among other tasks.”
Aside from Metro Manila, effluents all the way from Central and South Luzon all end up in Manila Bay.
The clean-up of Manila Bay is a multi-faceted, multi-layered issue and will require cooperation between municipalities, water utility companies, residents, and the government.
On 1 January 2021, the Phil star reports that the Manila Bay clean-up is on track. Significant improvements have been made, such as:
- a new solar-powered sewage treatment plant (STP) with the capacity to treat 500 thousand liters of wastewater per day from three drainage outfalls,
- a significant drop of fecal coliform in the 3 Manila Bay sites, including the Baywalk area,
- regular clean-up of creeks, ditches, and rivers, including dredging and desilting operations,
- installation of geoengineering interventions in the bay like trash booms and silt curtains, and
- construction of a sewerage interceptor in one of the provinces surrounding the bay with communal septic tanks to minimize direct wastewater discharge.
- Portable toilets were also made available to informal settlers in the area.
Sustainable solutions to environmental degradation require holistic community engagement and multiple work programs, as demonstrated by this article.
Infrastructure management and provisioning of new or updated infrastructure solutions play a part in the wider community solutions deployed.
- “Volunteers cleaning up trash along the coast of ManilaBay” by Bombona78 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=64735917
- “The beach during its temporary opening in September 2020” by patrickroque01 – Taken using my own camera DSC-WX80, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=95978773