These children are swimming in Manila Bay – famous around the world for its breath-taking sunsets. Sadly, it is also notorious for its polluted water, stinking smell, and coastline flowing with trash. Manila Bay inadvertently serves as one of Metro Manila’s dump site where sewage from households, industries, and agriculture flow untreated and unchecked. Solid wastes like plastic products, food scraps, disposable diapers, and sanitary napkins float aimlessly. Overfishing and oil spills from ships and tankers poison and kill the surviving wildlife. Pesticides, fertilizers, heavy metals, and abundant levels of fecal coliform all contribute to the bay’s continued degradation.
Hopefully, by end of this year, these children will be swimming in a cleaner and healthier Manila Bay. Fresh from last year’s triumph of Boracay Island’s closure and rehabilitation, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, headed by Sec. Roy A. Cimatu, will kick-off the Manila Bay Rehabilitation Program this Sunday, January 27, 2019 at the Bay Walk, Roxas Boulevard. The DENR will work hand-in-hand with other concerned agencies and local government units to replicate the success achieved in Boracay.
But all victories require sacrifice. The rehabilitation and restoration of Manila bay cannot be achieved by the government alone. Everyone must do their part for this program to succeed. Here are a few things we can easily do to help:
- Segregate and dispose wastes properly. If possible, biodegradable wastes can be buried in the ground and serve as composts for our plants. Non-biodegradable wastes can be further segregated into simply wet and dry or into recyclable and non-recyclable waste. Doing these in our homes, schools, and offices will help ease the work done by our garbage collectors and make recycling much easier.
- Bring your own bottles, utensils, straws, etc. A huge percentage of trash collected in our esteros and waterways are single-use plastic products from take-out or delivered fastfood. Make it a habit to bring reusable plates, cups, and straws.
- Bring your own reusable bag. More than 80% of plastic products are not recycled and eventually end up in our seas. Plastic takes a very long time to degrade and it breaks down into microscopic particles that fish and other marine wildlife mistake for food.
- Instead of throwing used cooking oil in the sink, dispose it with your biodegradable waste or better yet, bury it in the ground. Used cooking oil contributes to clogging of our creeks and streams.
- Use environment-friendly soaps, shampoos, and detergents. Commercial soaps and detergents contain harmful chemicals and substances that flow into our sewers and end up in our oceans.
- Support products and enterprises that promote sustainability and are eco-friendly.
All hope is not lost for Manila Bay. The fight is just beginning. Success is in our hands. We just need to believe that our simple actions can make a huge difference.