Inspired by the significant decline in the level of fecal coliform in Manila Bay, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy A. Cimatu on Monday (Feb. 15) vowed to continue the government's "gainful campaign" to clean the waters of the historic bay.

Cimatu said water samples taken last Feb. 8 from 21 stations surrounding the Manila Bay have shown significantly lower fecal coliform from the annual average of 7.16 million most probable number per 100 milliliters (mpn/100ml) in 2020 to only 4.87 million mpn/100ml at present.

Moreover, he noted that fecal coliform level in the waters near the beach nourishment project has dropped from 2.2 million mpn/100ml last Jan. 4 to 523,000 mpn/100 ml on Feb. 8, based on the average count from three monitoring stations.

Despite time constraints due to other pressing commitments and the coronavirus 2019 pandemic, Cimatu said the agency still persevered to address the issues in Manila Bay, particularly its water quality.

"Amidst the other tasks that we are also seriously taking on and the restrictions brought about by the pandemic, we assure the Filipino people that our focus to clean Manila Bay is crystal clear," Cimatu said.

"We have doubled, if not tripled, our efforts to rehabilitate Manila Bay, especially in bringing down the water’s fecal coliform," he emphasized.

The DENR chief reiterated his commitment to lowering down the fecal coliform of the Manila Bay to Class SB in order to be safe for recreational activities and fishing.

"We will make sure that we continue to clean the waters of Manila Bay until it becomes safe again for contact activities," he said.

Cimatu, who is also the chair of the Manila Bay Task Force, said they will continue to implement necessary interventions to address the water quality of Manila Bay.

He pointed out that additional water quality monitoring stations have been installed along the Manila Baywalk on Roxas Boulevard, apart from the regular stations used in 2019 and 2020, to monitor the fecal coliform level of the waters within the major outfalls.

The DENR chief also cited that the sewage treatment plant constructed along the Manila Yacht Club has sustained its operation, which also notably contributed in lowering down fecal coliform in the outfall that drains into the Manila Bay. #