By Erma Edera
Hundreds of people persisted on swimming in the polluted waters of Manila Bay despite a ban imposed by the city government on swimming in the area, and the continued effort by public and private groups to clean the shoreline.
“From dito po, mga 300 meters… maitim pa. Maitim pa ‘yung dagat kaya hindi pa pwedeng paliguan. May mga basura pa po ‘yan sa ilalim,” Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Metro Parkway Cleaning Group head Francis Martinez said.
The initial phase of the Manila Bay rehabilitation was hailed by Filipinos after photos of a trash-free coastline circulated online, a stark contrast from the dirty, garbage-filled shoreline just a week ago.
The changed environment was a result of the clean-up drive on January 27 that was participated by different government workers and volunteers in light of the Manila Bay rehabilitation program.
The Department of Health on Thursday also advised the public against swimming in the bay, saying that while the water appeared to be clean, it did not mean that it was safe to bathe in.
Despite the ongoing massive clean-up drive of the Department of Environment and Natural
Among the water-borne diseases the public might get from swimming in Manila Bay were diarrhea, cholera, typhoid, dysentery, skin diseases and eye infection, the DOH said.
The initiative was referred to as the “Battle for Manila Bay” by Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, where different government agencies were tasked to immediately oversee the rehabilitation as stated in a Supreme Court order written in 2008.