Environment Secretary Lito Atienza yesterday issued notices of violations to Manila Water Sewerage System, Maynilad Water and Manila Water for their failure to put up sufficient wastewater treatment facilities.
Atienza announced his move during the Earth Day celebration at the SM Mall of Asia, saying that the failure of the three firms to comply with the provision of the Clean Water Act has contributed to the degradation of the water quality of the Pasig River and Manila Bay, including the Marilao-Meycauayan-Obando River System which ultimately drains into Manila Bay.
The Clean Water Act of 2004 requires the MWSS to provide water supply and sewerage facilities within five years since the effectivity of the law, Atienza said. Likewise, both Maynilad and Manila Water based on their concession agreements, were required to put up their respective wastewater treatment facilities, Atienza said. But all three firms failed to put up sufficient wastewater treatment facilities as the water quality in Pasig River and Manila Bay remain not compliant with the standards, Atienza said.
The protection of the water bodies, particularly of Manila Bay, has been promulgated by the Supreme Court in its ruling in December 2008, when it imposed a continuing mandamus on the Environment Department, including 10 other government agencies, to protect and restore Manila Bay, according to Atienza.
“There will be no letup in our effort to strictly enforce environmental laws as punishment is the best deterrent to violators,” Atienza said.
At the same time, Atienza called on Filipinos to unite and act to preserve Mother Earth as the country’s environmental situation is worsening. He pointed out the need to devote special effort and attention to the issue of climate change and global warming, which he said, is the biggest and most threatening environmental problem facing mankind today.
“No less than our top national leaders, led by President Arroyo, have expressed their unconditional commitment for the environment, and in fact, giving their guidance for the country to move on fast in our quest for sustainable development,” Atienza said.
President Arroyo has been devoting her time every Friday to give directives on solid waste management and climate change.
The Earth Day celebration was convened by Atienza’s department in coordination with SM Mall of Asia and Earth Day Philippines Network. Other institutions and groups that participated in the event were Ultramarathon runners, Mt. Everest climbers, Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission, Sagip Pasig Movement, Unilever Philippines, the Armed Forces, Philippine Army, National Police, Philippine Coast Guard and Dmetri Productions