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Ambassador report

[Ambassador report] [Thematic Report] Spotlight on Philippine’s Marine Environment: Manila Bay

by Catherine Shim | 20-06-2020 22:12 Comments 5 Comments recommendations 0 recommendations

The Philippines is an archipelago, or a group of islands, located in Southeast Asia. It consists of three major islands: Luzon, Mindanao, and Visayas. The nation boasts its numerous wonderful vacation spots, with its tropical climate and beaches. However, there is the other side of the story: Philippine’s unflushed toilet- Manila Bay. 

In contrast to the Philippines’ clean oceans in the country’s famous tourist destinations of Cebu, Boracay, and Bohol, Manila Bay has become known as the “unflushed toilet”, as its waters have become polluted by plastic waste. While it has been one of the famous tourist spots in the past, its beautiful waters were lost as the sewage from the nearby Pasig River began to pollute Manila Bay as it poured into its water. According to the Bureau of Ecosystems Research and Development, the wetland, mangroves, mudflats, and seagrass beds along with the bay’s marine ecosystem has been destroyed by population expansion, rapid urbanization, and unregulated coast and basin development.

How did human activity affect the marine ecosystem? According to Cynde Pagador, Manila Bay has long been a fishing area for many fishermen and its coral reefs had been the breeding grounds for fishes and marine species. However, as overfishing, destructive fishing, along with population expansion and industrial development encroached the bay, the coral reefs had been destroyed and resulted in loss of habitat for fishes and marine species, which ruined its biodiversity as well. In addition, as Manila Bay is a semi enclosed estuary which is connected to the West Philippines Sea and the National Capital Region, the industrial activities such as mining, deforestation, and agriculture brought in toxic solid and liquid waste that worsened the pollution of Manila Bay and heightened the pollutant concentration in the area. 

In order to tackle the pollution in Manila Bay, organizations and volunteers began to organize beach cleanups. While it is estimated that it will take almost seven years to restore the bay, the weekly cleanups have increased the public’s awareness of marine pollution and the problems of uncontrolled urban development. NGOs and individuals have taken the initiatives to communicate this to a wider audience. With collaborations with a Filipino writer, Greenpeace has created a storybook to educate children about marine pollution. Although clean beaches might not be around soon, the efforts of Filipinos show that the clear waters of Manila Bay will hopefully be restored back to its original glory. 

Works Cited:

  1. Evasco, Francisco. “Overfishing Depletes Fish Population in the Manila Bay.” Canopy International, Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Sept. 2000, erdb.denr.gov.ph/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/c_v26n5.pdf.

  2. McCarthy, Joe. “Plastic Pollution Clean-Up Effort in Manila Bay Begins.” Global Citizen, 25 Mar. 2019, www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/manila-bay-clean-up/.

  3. Pagador, Cynde. “The Coral Reefs of Manila Bay: Their Alarming Decline.” Canopy International, Ecosystem Research and Development Bureau, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, 2000, erdb.denr.gov.ph/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/c_v26n5.pdf.

  4. Rivas, Ralf. “Manila Bay Cleanup: High Hopes, Murky Plans.” Rappler, 5 Feb. 2019, www.rappler.com/newsbreak/in-depth/222684-manila-bay-rehabilitation-hopes-plans.

  5. Tudao, Vicente. “Transboundary Pollution in the Seas of East Asia: A Glimpse of Manila Bay Problem.” Canopy International, Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Sept. 2000, erdb.denr.gov.ph/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/c_v26n5.pdf.

  6. Photo Credits: Photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler

Photo Credits: Photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler


Kushal Naharki

  • Kushal Naharki says :
    Hello Catherine

    Greetings and Namaste from Nepal
    Wishing you a safe stay
    Thank you for your report on Spotlight on Philippine??s Marine Environment: Manila Bay

    Keep writing great reports.
    We are eager to read more reports from you.
    Green Cheers :)

    Best wishes,
    Kushal Naharki

    Posted 14-07-2020 10:24

Sang Su Mentor

  • Sang Su Mentor says :
    Hi Catherine Shim, this is a mentor, Sang Su Lee.

    Unflushed toilet... T.T
    This metaphor explicitly shows how terrible the marine environment is in Marina Bay. It's so sad to hear that. Many scientists are going extra miles to develop the state-of-the-art technology to replace currently non degradable plastics to biodegradable plastics, but it will take some times. As a mentor Taehyun has mentioned, strong regulation seems necessary to prevent this problem.

    Thank you for your article ~!
    Posted 01-07-2020 02:21

Taehyun Mentor

  • Taehyun Mentor says :
    Hello Catherine Shim this is mentor Taehyun!

    Philippines is famous for its beautiful and beautiful marine environment in our country, so many people go sightseeing, and it is amazing that it has such a bad side. The coastal areas where all the waste in the big city is spewing out like this look really hard to manage. Personal efforts are important in this regard, but in the end, the government seems to need strong regulations on the environment.

    Thank you for the report!

    Green cheers!
    Posted 01-07-2020 02:17

Aarati Khatri

  • Aarati Khatri says :
    Hello Catherine sim,
    Thank you soo much for shedding lights on Phillipine marine environmemt.
    Keep on writting.
    Posted 28-06-2020 15:28


  • ALOK DHAKAL says :
    Thank your for your report!!
    Posted 21-06-2020 18:15

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