Filipinos are already flocking to Manila Bay to enjoy its world-famous sunset just a day after a massive rehabilitation project was initiated at the site.
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The first 6 pictures show how dirty Manila Bay was in the last few months. And this is in Baywalk, a tourist destination and a spot for joggers and health-conscious individuals. The last 2 pictures show a cleaner bay, where the sand can now be seen. The last 2 photos were taken in November last year. Cleaners there say, because of Amihan, there is no garbage in the area as winds transport them to other places. But when Habagat returns, so will the garbage. The challenge now is not just to do clean up operations , but really a change of mindset among the people. There should be less trash to begin with. Less wastes, less plastic. It’s actually easier said than done, but it’s not impossible.
Dubbed as the “Battle for Manila Bay,” the cleanup drive was initiated by various government agencies in the Philippines to rehabilitate the harbor which has suffered massive pollution for decades.
While there have been cleanup efforts by other agencies months prior to this, the rehabilitation led by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and their 5,000 volunteers officially started on Sunday.
According to the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), a total of 45.59 tons of garbage were collected in the first day of the cleanup.
Cease and desist orders were also handed out to at least 4 major establishments around the site for violating environmental laws, Rappler reports.
Meanwhile, the Department of the Interior and Local Government noted that they have tasked some 5,700 barangays to conduct similar activities on a weekly basis, stressing that the cleanup will not be a one-off event.
The rehabilitation effort, which is estimated to cost the government 46 billion Philippine pesos ($877 million), will be conducted in three phases, covering 8 provinces and 178 local government units in the 3 regions of Metro Manila, Central Luzon, and Calabarzon.
The massive drive reinforces a Supreme Court continuing mandamus, which ordered government agencies and local governments to clean up the polluted bay.
Despite warnings against swimming in the area as its water toxicity level is still high, several individuals have been spotted having a dip in Manila Bay’s waters.
Cleanup activities were also conducted simultaneously in the Philippine provinces of Bulacan, Pampanga, and Bataan.