Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu has ordered the establishment of engineering interventions and strict enforcement of environmental laws to stop illegal wastewater discharge along Roxas Boulevard amid the ongoing rehabilitation of Manila Bay.

“In order to solve the pollution in the waters of Manila Bay, we at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) should trace all the illegal pipes that directly drain polluted wastewater to the bay,” Cimatu said.

The DENR chief issued the statement after a culvert or drainage pipe discovered hidden behind boulders at Station 640 along the Manila Baywalk on Roxas Boulevard was found to be discharging untreated wastewater directly into the bay.

Based on water analysis, fecal coliform count in the area was significantly high at 50 million most probable number per 100 milliliters (MPN/100ml).

After further inspection, three more alleged culverts along the baywalk were discovered. Pipes were found beside the Remedios drainage outfall across Aristocrat Restaurant, Station 240 beside the Padre Faura outfall, and near the Estero San Antonio de Abad outfall.

The coliform level, specifically at the Remedios outfall, was measured at 32 million MPN/100 ml. A total of 33 intake drainages were also observed from the US Embassy to the Manila Yacht Club.

Water coming from these drainages flow into a line drainage canal along the baywalk, drain towards the Remedios outfall, and eventually to Manila Bay.

“We will continue to examine more closely these culverts, illegal connections, and outfalls. Otherwise, these will continue to spew out pollutants that can impede our progress in the rehabilitation of Manila Bay,” Cimatu said.

He added that the DENR will conduct further investigation to determine which establishments are connected to the illegal pipes.

“We will study the legal actions we can pursue against these establishments to ensure that they are made accountable for their violation of environmental laws,” Cimatu said.

“We want to make all violators realize that laws shouldn’t be taken lightly if we want to see a behavior change in the next generations.”

At the same time, Cimatu ordered the immediate plugging of these illegal outfalls in order to stop the flow of untreated waters that continue to pollute the bay, and for concerned establishments to connect to official sewer lines.

He also instructed the Manila Bay Task Force to conduct desiltation and rehabilitation of line drainage canal to improve water flow in the Padre Faura and Remedios outfalls. ###