Discarded plastic food and beverage packaging are not the only type of trash that end up in Manila Bay. This was revealed by DENR National Capital Region Regional Executive Director Jacqueline A. Caancan during her visit to the Tanza Marine Tree Park in Navotas City on Thursday, 7 October 2021.

RED Caancan, together with Assistant Regional Director for Special Concerns Martin V. Despi and Conservation and Development Division (CDD) Chief Aida E. Esguerra, visited the area following reports that trash has been piling up on the coast of the northernmost boundary of Metro Manila because of habagat.

“Much of the attention of the media with the Manila Bay rehabilitation has been at Roxas Boulevard”, says Director Caancan. “What we need to understand however is that Roxas Boulevard is a minuscule part of Manila Bay. The coast of Manila Bay is shared by 21 municipalities and 10 cities, including Navotas City where we are now”, she pointed out.

“All these abandoned flipflops and trash that we see here in Tanza did not come from Navotas City alone or even any city or municipality of Metro Manila. Some of these may have come from any of the 8 provinces that drain their waters into Manila Bay”, Director Caancan said.

According to the book Manila Bay Area Environmental Atlas (DENR: 2015), on top of Metro Manila, the provinces of Bataan, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Rizal, and Tarlac all drain their waters to Manila Bay.

“What this means is that trash thrown into the rivers and streams from all these provinces, cities and municipalities, find their way to Manila Bay”, the director added. Director Caancan clarified that while the regional office has been doing a lot to clean Manila Bay within its territorial jurisdiction, it still needs the help and cooperation of the people, not only here in Metro Manila but the rest of the provinces mentioned, for its efforts to succeed.

“If we want to see a rehabilitated Manila Bay”, Director Caancan said, “we can start by practicing proper waste management at home. Don’t throw away your old slippers and other broken items in your homes just yet. Instead, find ways to reuse, repurpose or recycle them first. Throwing them away and buying new ones should be your last option”, she advised.

Director Caancan ordered the Coastal Resources and Foreshore Management Section (CRFMS) and North Field Office (NFO) to intensify their cleanup activity at the Tanza Marine Tree Park.