Some people feel that a beach is only truuuuuly a beach if people can swim in it — and, well … agreed!
However, we also believe that a clean and safe environment is essential. So, to that point — unfortunately, due to illegal dumping and decades of neglect resulting in high levels of pollution, swimming is currently not allowed at the Manila Baywalk Dolomite Beach. Effort continues to be made to clean up the Bay and comply with The Philippine Supreme Court Mandamus of 2008 ordering the rehabilitation and preservation of Manila Bay. (Read a brief summary about the Supreme Court ruling at the bottom of this page.)
Directly below, the timeline tracks the exciting progress toward achieving the goal of 100 MPN/100mL — and swimming!
Please note that the geomean — the geometric mean, a form of calculated average — is used to determine water cleanliness by identifying the overall level of fecal contamination in a body of water, based on a series of individual measurements taken over time.
When reviewing the above information, it is clear that there has been tremendous progress — and we should be incredibly enthused, excited and optimistic! However, we must also remain grounded in the understanding that Manila Bay is a very large body of water, and the above results only tell a part of this very exciting story.
The Battle for Manila Bay — and the battle for the emergence of a truuuue beach life in Manila — continues.
The Philippine Supreme Court Mandamus of 2008 is also known as the “Continuing Mandamus on the Manila Bay Clean-Up, Restoration and Preservation.”
In 2008, several individuals and organizations filed a petition with the Supreme Court seeking to compel government agencies to clean up and rehabilitate Manila Bay, which had become heavily polluted and was causing harm to the environment and public health.
The Supreme Court, in its ruling, issued a continuing mandamus directing 13 government agencies to take specific actions to clean up and restore the bay. These included setting up sewage treatment plants, relocating informal settlers living along the shoreline, and enforcing environmental laws and regulations.
The Supreme Court also created a Manila Bay Advisory Committee to oversee the implementation of the continuing mandamus and ensure that the government agencies comply with their obligations to ensure that an appropriate water quality standard is both established and met. To that end, the DENR and EMB set water quality standards based on various parameters, including the presence of fecal coliform bacteria, which are used as an indicator of water pollution and possible health risks. The acceptable level of fecal coliform bacteria in Manila Bay is set at 100 most probable number per 100 milliliters of water (100 MPN/100mL).
The Manila Bay case was significant because it emphasized the government’s duty to protect the environment and upheld the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology as enshrined in the Philippine Constitution.
Learn more about the Manila Bay Rehabilitation Program by exploring the DENR’s most recent overview.