By Raymund Antonio
For the ongoing rehabilitation of Manila Bay, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has brought in more heavy equipment to hasten the completion of the clean-up drive by July.
DPWH Undersecretary for Technical Services and Unified Project Management Office Operations Emil Sadain said two units of Watermaster Classic 5 dredgers are meant to be used for the removal of debris, plastics, and solid wastes from Manila Bay.
The new amphibious dredgers, equipped with cutter suction, has heavy duty dredging capacity for the desilting operation along the 1.5-kilometer stretch of Roxas Boulevard from the United States Embassy to the Manila Yacht Club breakwater.
“Improvements as a result of DPWH activities can now be seen but we will not relax and instead we beefed up our operating fleets,” Sadain said.
Sadain inspected the clean-up works of Manila Bay, along with DPWH Bureau of Equipment director Noel Ilao and assistant director Amador Andrada, and Project Director Patrick Gatan of UPMO-Flood Control Management Cluster.
The DPWH has been using 28 pieces of equipment, among which are amphibious excavators, dumping scows and debris segregators, for the clean-up activities. It also has 11 dump trucks at its disposal.
The agency divided the desilting procedure into five segments each ranging from 200 to 300-meter long, until the entire 1.5 kilometers are covered. This year’s target is the removal of 225,000 cubic meter of silt.
The thick layers of silt and garbage under the Manila Bay have already reduced its water-carrying capacity, affected the water flow, and worsened water pollution.
The DPWH has been continuously conducting water quality monitoring and bathymetric surveying to monitor the progress of the desilting operations.
To date, the DPWH reported the total volume of removed muck and silt from Manila Bay was at 18,000 cubic meters.
Other agencies such as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, and Philippine Coast Guard assist the DPWH in the clean-up efforts.