DENR reports significant improvement of water quality at Manila Bay

Published July 16, 2022, 5:01 PM

by Jel Santos

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has reported significant improvement in the water quality of Manila Bay, attributing it to the continuing rehabilitation efforts in all river systems and tributaries within the bay region.

As of June 2022, data of the DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau–National Capital Region (EMB-NCR) showed that the fecal coliform level at the Manila Bay beach nourishment station near the United States Embassy in Manila has decreased to 2,400 most probable number per 100 milliliters (MPN/100mL) from 7,100 MPN/100mL in 2021. 

It was also observed by the agency that the two water quality monitoring stations near the Dolomite Beach also registered lower fecal coliform levels – from 7,300 MPN/100mL to 1,700 MPN/100mL, and from 10,200 MPN/100mL to 2,100 MPN/100mL, respectively.

A significant decrease in fecal coliform levels in four Metropolitan Environment Offices was also observed.

The EMB-NCR has also reported that the fecal coliform levels have dropped in the Malabon-Navotas-Tullahan-Tinajeros River System from 3.7 billion MPN/100mL to 4.8 million MPN/100mL, as well as in the waters near the Navotas Fishport from 920,000 MPN/100mL to 9,200 MPN/100mL.

Michael Drake P. Matias, EMB-NCR regional director, said such are “remarkable gains” in Manila Bay based on the water quality monitoring results. 

“Rest assured that we will not stop here and will continue our work as part of the Manila Bay rehabilitation project,” he vowed.

Matias said that, although the readings show that the current levels are still far from the fecal coliform standard of 100 MPN/100mL to restore Manila Bay’s water quality to Class SB level, the goal is a big challenge, but attainable through the collaboration of both local and national governments and the public.

Class SB is a DENR classification for coastal areas and waters where the public may safely engage in bathing, swimming, skin diving, and similar recreational activities.

“Reaching the 100 MPN/100mL standard is not impossible through our solid waste management strategies, geoengineering interventions, and with the establishment of our real-time online water quality monitoring system,” he said.

EMB-NCR checks 412 monitoring sampling stations scattered in various water bodies of Metro Manila.