Manila Bay rehab hinges on Cavite’s efforts to solve garbage problems–Cimatu

Published July 5, 2021, 3:00 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

Cavite’s garbage problem must be addressed if the pollution of Manila Bay has any achance of getting solved.

DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu (Photo from DENR Facebook

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu had this to say in his recent talk with officials of the province, which included the governor and several mayors.

“We cannot complete the rehabilitation of Manila Bay if we will not solve the garbage problem in the province. There is a very big connection between that. The only way for us to solve the problem of Manila Bay is to solve the garbage problem and water quality of the rivers in Cavite,” Cimatu said.

The Duterte administration is pouring P389 million into the Manila Bay Rehabilitation Progam. The program, the funds of which were set aside back in 2019, involves the creation of the so-called dolomite beach, among other things.

Cimatu met with the Cavite officials at Oasis Hotel in Imus City on June 24. During the event, DENR Calabarzon Regional Executive Director Nilo Tamoria identified Cavite’s six major rivers as Imus River, Zapote River, Rio Grande-Ylang-Ylang River, Cañas River, Labac River, and Maragondon River–all of which empty out into the historic bay.

Cimatu proposed before the officials the setting up of a compliant sanitary landfill (SLF) in their province to help manage its garbage problem.

He explained that due to the recent rainfalls, trash from various waterways including those from Cavite’s rivers drift to Manila Bay. This ends up countering the recent improvements in the Baywalk area in terms of coliform level and solid waste collection, Cimatu said.

He added that the evident increase in garbage being thrown in the rivers may be attributed to the closure of all open dumpsites in the province in compliance with Republic Act (RA) 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

“I’d like to appeal to the mayors of Cavite to please help us,” Cimatu said, noting that under the law, local government units (LGUs) are primarily responsible for waste segregation and disposal.

Cavite Governor Juanito Victor “Jonvic” Remulla, admitted during the meeting that solid waste management was the number one problem of Cavite. He noted that an estimated 50 percent of the province’s solid waste goes to its rivers.

This accounts for approximately 2,000 tons of garbage a day, of which 90 percent goes to Manila Bay.

The provincial chief executive disclosed that 21 of the 23 cities and municipalities of the province “do not have the capacity to put up their own solid waste facility because of the limitations of land”, of which he appealed ftthe DENR to help in setting up an SLF.

Meanwhile, DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and LGUs Concerns and Cavite Cluster Task Force head Benny D. Antiporda suggested some strategies that the LGUs may implement to address the garbage problem in their respective localities.

These include having “environmental marshals” in the barangays, influencing behavioral change, enforcement of policies and city ordinances, and checking the environmental compliance of various industries and establishments in their respective areas of responsibility.

Antiporda said the DENR is committed to help the LGUs to complement their ongoing cleanup efforts like installing trash traps in the bodies of water, employing additional river rangers, and managing the wastes generated by informal settlers.