Tons of garbage removed from Manila Bay at start of cleanup drive

Volunteers collecting rubbish along the shore during the launch of a rehabilitation campaign in Manila Bay, on Jan 27, 2019. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

MANILA (DPA) - More than 40 tons of garbage were removed from the shores of the Philippines' Manila Bay on Sunday (Jan 27) at the start of a campaign to clean up the polluted stretch of coastline.

The 11 truckloads of rubbish were collected by 5,000 government employees and volunteers as part of the drive to restore the bay, which spans nearly 2,000km on the country's western coast.

Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said he hoped the cleanup drive would be successful.

"This is a battle that will be won not with force or arms but with the firm resolve to bring Manila Bay back to life," he said in a statement.

"With the commitment and determination of every Filipino to do his share in this rehabilitation effort, we have already won the battle for Manila Bay."

"We cannot afford to prolong this cleanup activity because this has long been neglected," he added. "Manila Bay is not a lost cause."

The bay, famous for its sunset views, has a coastline of 190km that is dotted with commercial establishments such as restaurants and hotels, as well as factories and Manila's main port terminals.

More than 1 million informal settlers also live along estuaries that discharge into Manila Bay.

Also on Sunday, authorities ordered three restaurants to pay penalties of up to 200,000 pesos (S$5,148) after inspection showed their facilities were dumping waste water into Manila Bay.

An inn, two commercial buildings, a private ferry terminal, a residential building and another restaurant were also given notices of violations and told to immediately implement corrective measures.

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