DENR-NCR Regional Executive Director Jacqueline A. Caancan inspects the water outfalls of Manila Bay in Pasay and Paranaque City on Thursday, 27 August 2020. She was accompanied by Assistant Regional Director for Technical Services, Engr. Ignacio R. Almira, Jr., Conservation and Development Chief Aida E. Esguerra, and South Field Office (SFO) Deputy Chief Environment Officer Bobby Tagapan.

Director Caancan and the team first inspected the entire stretch of Libertad Channel and its connecting waterway in Pasay City and then moved on to the shorelines of Manila Bay in Barangay Dongalo, Paranaque City. The last location inspected is at the Las Pinas-Paranaque Wetland Park (LPPWP).

Director Caancan visited the waterways to assess and strategize how to safely conduct cleanup activities with DENR National Capital Region partner organizations like the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (DPWH), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), and the city governments of Pasay, Paranaque, and Las Pinas.

“Doing cleanup and maintenance activities has become a challenge with the pandemic”, Director Caancan admitted, “but we have to strive now more than ever in doing cleanups as disease-causing germs and viruses thrive in a dirty environment.”

The top regional official also called on the public to properly dispose of the surgical masks and gloves they use to protect themselves against COVID-19. “The risks posed to the health of our cleanup workers are high enough already when they go down our rivers and coasts to retrieve improperly disposed waste”, Director Caancan appealed. The surgical masks and gloves that end up in our waterways, she says, only adds to these risks.

Director Caancan also advised Metro Manilans to put household medical wastes in separate, labeled, bags to avoid cross-contamination. "Not only do we have to segregate biodegradable from recyclables and residuals, but special and hazardous wastes too." DENR is leading efforts to clean, rehabilitate, and make the waters of Manila Bay safe and compliant to "Class SB" Water Quality Standards.