Mayor Lucilo R. Bayron urged the public anew to stop polluting Puerto Princesa Bay in an effort to save the city’s coastal waters from contamination.
In the recent launching of Save Puerto Princesa Bay project in Barangay Mandaragat, the mayor said that the quality of the bay has been threatened by human activities that contributed to polluting it, like the indiscriminate dumping and throwing of solid wastes coming from the houses of the informal settlers who are occupying foreshores and coastal area’s easement.
“Aminin natin ang totoo kung ano ang nag caused ng pollution. Unang una ang indiscriminate na pagtatapon ng basura. Dahil sa mga tao,” Mayor Bayron said.
He explained that with the estimated 5,500 families who informally settled within the bay, this translates to 25,000 individuals assuming that each family has a size of at least five individuals.
“Kung walang CR ang mga bahay na yan? Alam na natin kung ano ang mangyayari. Maliban sa mga tao na yun, may mga alaga pa silang aso, baboy, manok” he said.
Punong Barangay Gerry Abad of Barangay Mandaragat said that their barangay made an effort to intensify coastal clean up activities in their jurisdiction. He said that aside from the annual event of International Coastal Clean-Up, they hold their own barangay initiated coastal clean up activities. But he said, the dumping of solid wastes by these households in coastal areas are still uncontrolled.
“Hindi pa po ako kapitan ay ito na ang hitsura ng Old buncag. Ang mga basura na nasa silong ng ating mga bahay ay hindi po nagbabago,” Abad said.
Among the main threats to the water quality of Puerto Princesa Bay are the informal settlement, dumping of untreated wastewater, high fecal coliform due to discharges from poultry and piggery farms, etc.
The Office of the City Environment and Natural Resources Officer (City ENRO) headed by Atty. Carlo B. Gomez in cooperation with the Barangay Local Government Unit of Barangay Mandaragat conducted inspection within the coastal areas of Barangay Mandaragat. During the inspection, they instructed household owners to remove pig pens and all their livestocks since they are directly dumping wastes to the coastal areas.
On its operations during the first week of November 2022, both City ENRO and the Barangay recorded some 800 heads of swine removed from the area, in Barangay Mandaragat alone. The campaign was also part of the preparations for IronMan event, hosted by the City Government of Puerto Princesa.
The City ENRO is continuous in its monitoring in coastal areas with informal settlers and reminded them not to raise domestic animals since these are contributory to pollution in coastal waters.
A team of City ENRO personnel under the Environmental Management Services Division has been formed tasked to monitor the coastal areas and its environs.
In a research report, Backyard and Commercial Piggeries in the Philippines: Environmental Consequences and Pollution Control Option authored by Ma. Angeles O. Catelo et.al. of the Department of Economics and Management of the University of the Philippines-Los Baños, (UPLB) stated that Phosphorus and Nitrogen in hog waste are major pollutants of water. At high concentrations, phosphorous and nitrogen causes eutrophication or the process of over-enriching water bodies leading to the production of excess algae, frequently due to runoff from the land. This results to growth of harmful algal bloom that resulted Red Tide.
The same study said that among the environmental effects associated with hog waste include surface water contamination arising from waste spills and leakages, fish kill, among others.
The study further said that nutrient pollution caused by hog wastes has been linked to the growth of bacteria known as Pfiesteria piscicida, a toxic microorganism that can kill fish and can endanger human lives.
Despite the miserable conditions of the informal settlement along the city’s coastal areas, Abad said that he is hopeful that a full-blast implementation of actions aimed at saving Puerto Princesa Bay will gain public support that will lead to its success.
“Ang ginagawa natin ngayon ay tingin ko ay isa ito sa mga hudyat na ma save natin ang ating Puerto Princesa Bay dito sa Lungsod ng Puerto Princesa,” Abad said.
Mayor Bayron admitted that cleaning the city’s coastal area is a long process, but he is confident that with the support of various sectors in the community, his administration can achieve significant results that will help save Puerto Princesa Bay from pollution.