The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is spearheading another massive cleanup of the historic Manila Bay on Saturday (Sept. 21), as the nation joins the rest of the world in observing the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) Day 2019.

More than 15,000 volunteers are expected to join the simultaneous cleanup activities within the Manila Bay region and in river systems that drain to Manila Bay.

DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said the local observance of the ICC Day 2019 is a “very timely event” to conduct another cleanup drive in Manila Bay with the same magnitude as the first one held early this year.

It will be recalled that last January 27, over 10,000 people took part in the massive cleanup that marked the launch of the rehabilitation program dubbed as “Battle for Manila Bay.” Since then, cleanup activities have been held in various esteros and other water bodies that drain into the bay.

Cimatu said the event on Saturday aims to sustain the momentum of restoring Manila Bay to its former glory, an effort that enjoys the support of all stakeholders from both public and private sectors.

“We are continuing the mission of cleaning Manila Bay in time for this year’s ICC Day celebration—an activity close to the noble purpose of rehabilitating this historic bay—so that the future generations can still witness its splendid glory,” Cimatu said.

DENR cleanup sites are in Bgy. 649 in Baseco, Manila, the coastal areas of Navotas Centennial Park, and the river systems of Tullahan-Tinajeros and Marikina River which drain to Manila Bay.

Other cleanup sites include the Navotas Tanza Marine Tree Park;Las Piñas- Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area; By the Bay Central Park in SM Mall of Asia and Gloria Maris, CCP Complex in Pasay City; and Polytechnic University of the Philippines in Sta. Mesa, Manila.

Cimatu said the DENR aims to reduce the fecal coliform level in Manila Bay to 100 most probable number per 100 milliliters (MPN/100ml), making it fit for swimming and other contact recreations.

A day after the January 27 cleanup, bacteria levels taken from the Rajah Sulayman outfall—one of the eight water quality monitoring stations of the DENR—reached 35 million MPN/100ml. Prior to the cleanup, the bacteria levels in the bay reached up to 330 million MPN/100ml.

Cimatu said the cleanup efforts are in line with the Writ of Continuing Mandamus issued by the Supreme Court in 2008 to target the source of pollution in Manila Bay.

In that ruling, the high court ordered the DENR and 12 other government agencies to “clean up, rehabilitate and preserve Manila Bay for the enjoyment of the present and future generations.”

“Battle for Trash-Free Manila Bay” is the theme for the local celebration of ICC Day 2019.

Established in 1986 by the Washington-based environmental group Ocean Conservancy, the ICC is recognized as the world’s largest volunteer effort for ocean’s health.

Held every third Saturday of September of each year, thousands of volunteers worldwide join in clearing tons of trash from coastlines, rivers and lakes and recording every piece of trash collected. ###