No surprise: 80% of pollution in Manila Bay comes from squatters

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    AS much as 80 percent of pollution in Manila Bay, which includes human waste, are from illegal settlers living along the shoreline and nearby areas, an official of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) said yesterday.

    Interior Undersecretary Epimaco Dansing told the committee on environment that thousands of families who have built illegal residential structures are mostly the ones polluting the bay.

    “We have discovered that 80 percent of the pollution in Manila Bay comes from informal-settler families,” he told the House committee on environment and natural resources chaired by Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr.

    The briefing was made on the status of the rehabilitation being undertaken by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of Tourism (DOT).

    The three departments compose the Manila Bay Task Force that President Duterte created to clean up Manila Bay and restore some of its old glory.

    The Task Force has a budget of P2.1 billion that it can utilize until June 2020 on top of another P1.4 billion for the Manila Bay Rehabilitation Plan under the 2020 budget which has yet to be approved by the Senate.

    For this year, the National Housing Authority (NHA) has a budget of P8.6 billion to relocate the illegal settlers, of which P6.1 billion has been released by the Department of Budget and Management.

    Representatives from the Department of Health and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources have likewise affirmed the Task Force’s findings, noting that laboratory analysis yielded results that massive garbage, fecal and waste sewage have worsened the pollution.

    Department of Health and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources representatives said laboratory analysis showed that massive garbage, fecal and waste sewage have contributed to the problem.

    A BFAR official told Barzaga, who visited the area recently, that the level of salt oxygen is very low while the ammonia levels are very high which prompted the DOH to set up sewerage “dislodgers” and toilet facilities in the area.