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DENR official says swimming could remain banned on Manila Bay until next year

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By Calvin Cordova 

CEBU CITY – Manila Bay won’t be open for swimming until next year.

Volunteers clean up the coastal area in Baseco, Tondo Manila during the 34th International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) with the theme: "Battle for Trash Free Manila-Bay". The event was participated by different sectors from all over Metro Manila. (Mark Balmores / MANILA BULLETIN)

Volunteers clean up the coastal area in Baseco, Tondo Manila during the 34th International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) with the theme: “Battle for Trash Free Manila-Bay”. The event was participated by different sectors from all over Metro Manila. (Mark Balmores / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

This after Assistant Secretary Gilbert Gonzales of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) admitted that the rehabilitation of Manila Bay has encountered delays.

“Actually our goal is to make the Manila Bay swimmable the soonest possible. Originally our target was December but there are some delays in the releases of funds. Some of the important components to provide controls are yet to be implemented. We might accomplish it by mid of next year,” said Gonzales, who is the Deputy Ground Commander for Manila Bay Rehabilitation.

The rehabilitation of the popular tourist spot along Roxas Boulevard may only commence once the procurement process is completed.

“This coming December, if we can finish all the procurement processes, we intent to start the dredging, desilting of drainages and major river systems that connect to Manila Bay,” said Gonzales, who was in the city for last Thursday’s 78th International Federation of Landscape Architects-Asia Pacific Region.

Gonzales said the rehabilitation will cover at least a one kilometer from the edge of the United States Embassy compound to the Manila Yacht Club.

Checking the water quality will be one of the factors before the Manila Bay will be opened to the public.

“We will check the level of pollutants, the level of fecal coli form must get along with the standards. Desilting, clearing of the area, shoreline movement and system management are the indicators before we could say that Manila Bay is already swimmable,” said Gonzales.

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