5 establishments 'polluting' Manila Bay shuttered

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 11 2020 04:54 PM

Pasay City Mayor Emi Calixto-Rubiano oversees the closure of establishments at the HK Sun Plaza in Pasay City on March 9, 2020. The LLDA together with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the local government of Pasay City closed down 4 restaurants and 1 car wash for illegal discharge of wastewater that leads to Manila Bay. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Philippine government has closed down 5 business establishments in Pasay City after they were found discharging untreated wastewater into Manila Bay.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA), Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the Philippine National Police Maritime Group (PNP-MG) served closure orders on 4 restaurants and an auto shop located at HK Sun Plaza along Macapagal Boulevard.

Zhi-Brothers Restaurant, Ocean Bay Restaurant, Da Rae Jung Korean Restaurant, Song Do Won Restaurant and BHP1 Autoworks violated Republic Act 9275 or the Philippine Clean Air Act of 2004, authorities said.

The law prohibits discharging or depositing any pollutant to water bodies. It also requires businesses to either put up their own sewage treatment plant (STP) or connect to a wastewater treatment facility authorized by the DENR or LLDA.

The establishments' sewer lines were not connected to the STP of their lessor, HK Sun Plaza, the LLDA found during an inspection.

HK Sun Plaza, which is owned by the Social Security System Investment Property Department, built a P10-million STP in compliance with the closure order issued by the LLDA in February 2019 for its illegal wastewater discharge.

Only wastewater that has passed through the STP can be discharged to Libertad Channel, which then drains into Manila Bay.

Environment Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units Concerns Benny Antiporda criticized the errant establishments for jeopardizing the ongoing rehabilitation of Manila Bay.

"No matter how much effort we give in cleaning the Manila Bay, nothing will happen if we allow these errant business owners to do what they are doing," he said in a statement.

Antiporda also reminded other business owners to comply with existing environmental laws and regulations. The agency is also willing to provide technical assistance or advice to businesses in complying with environmental rules.

“We are calling out the attention of business owners, not only around Manila Bay, but all over the country to check on their environmental compliance,” he said.

The iconic bay, famous for its sunset view, has been undergoing massive cleanup as ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte to restore its former glory.

Results of an earlier water sampling in the area showed that Manila Bay's average fecal coliform level was at 330 million most probable number (mpn), 3.3 million times above the standard 100 mpn that is ideal for swimming.