Save Manila Bay
BELIEVE IT OR NOT, there was a time when you can swim in Manila Bay. Yes, that was the time when Manila Bay was actually clean enough for swimming. But that was decades ago.
Believe it or not, there was the time when Manila Bay possess healing powers. Yes, it was that time when the known remedy for coughs and cold was simply to walk around Manila Bay and inhale its believed to be therapeutic breeze.
Believe it or not, there was a time when mussels and clams were abundant in Manila Bay. Yes, really! Old residents near Manila Bay can attest that several species of shellfish and other forms of sea life once thrived in this bay.
Believe it or not, children still swim in Manila Bay. Yes! Despite Manila Bay’s filthy, garbage ridden, severely polluted and contaminated waters children and sometimes together with their parents still swim in Manila Bay.
Believe it or not, despite the passage of laws intended to protect Manila Bay, its deplorable condition has not changed. Yes! The repeated and rampant dumping of sludge, sewage, noxious and harmful liquids, garbage and other wastes into Manila Bay continues. Utter neglect lingers in the whole Manila Bay area and it may be a matter of time before it finally succumbs to death.
Believe it or not, despite its historical and environment significance there is a plan to reclaim the whole Manila Bay. Why reclaim Manila Bay? Its sentimental sunset is famous throughout the world. The promenade fronting the Manila Bay is one great spot where one can experience and capture sunset at its best. The kaleidoscope of colors as the sun goes down to signal the end of the day is truly breathtaking.
Let us not forget the “Battle of Manila Bay”. It is here where the most critical naval battle took place during the Spanish-American War that led to the end of the Spanish rule in the Philippines.
Several individuals and cause-oriented groups are doing serious efforts to save Manila Bay. Several programs and projects had already been implemented to save Manila Bay. But despite pouring lots of money in cleaning Manila Bay nothing seems to work. Manila Bay is still full of garbage, thrash, filth and sewage.
In a landmark decision, the Philippine Supreme Court has ordered several concerned agencies of the government to “clean up, rehabilitate and preserve Manila Bay.” The country’s highest Court stressed the need for an immediate and concrete action to save and preserve Manila Bay. Part of the decision reads as follows:
“The importance of the Manila Bay as a sea resource, playground, and as a historical landmark cannot be over-emphasized. It is not yet too late in the day to restore the Manila Bay to its former splendor and bring back the plants and sea life that once thrived in its blue waters. But the tasks ahead, daunting as they may be, could only be accomplished if those mandated, with the help and cooperation of all civic-minded individuals, would put their minds to these tasks and take responsibility. This means that the State, through petitioners, has to take the lead in the preservation and protection of the Manila Bay.
The era of delays, procrastination, and ad hoc measures is over. Petitioners must transcend their limitations, real or imaginary, and buckle down to work before the problem at hand becomes unmanageable. Thus, we must reiterate that different government agencies and instrumentalities cannot shirk from their mandates; they must perform their basic functions in cleaning up and rehabilitating the Manila Bay.” (MMDA vs. Concerned Residents of Manila Bay, G.R. Nos. 171947-48; December 18, 2008).
While the decision gave more teeth to the effort of concerned citizens to preserve Manila Bay, a lot of things still have to be done. Given the gravity of the problem, government cannot do the task alone. Lack of Political will? Maybe. But, let us stop blaming the government. Let us do our share in saving Manila Bay.
If we don't get our act together, it may be matter of time before Manila Bay is lost to eternity…
What would and can you do to help?