Friday, 17 March 2017 14:03
The City Health Office (CHO) warns residents anew against swimming in public beaches due to the presence of high levels of fecal coliform, a bacterium that can cause diseases and illness such as typhoid fever, dysentery, cholera, and gastroenteritis, in the waters.
“Initially, we have decided that we are coming out with posters and billboards in the area prohibiting people from swimming in the Boulevard,” City Health Officer Dr. Rodelin Agbulos said.
According to the investigation conducted by Task Force Aplaya, the City’s public beaches, particularly the Cawa Cawa and Caragasan beaches, registered high levels of e-coli, and exceeded the DENR standards for total suspended solids (TSS), oil and grease (OG), and fecal coliform.
Agbulos said the high number of fecal coliform has made the waters of Cawa Cawa unsafe for any use.
“The red line meaning to say, pwede pa era usa el agua, para rega rega auto. The green line, meaning to say, we cannot use it anymore. Above the green line, hinde ya gat pwede banya, or even use the water for washing,” Agbulos said, referring to a water quality monitoring report for Cawa Cawa beach which he presented to the local media Monday, March 13 at City Hall.
In the report, the fecal coliform levels in the waters of Cawa Cawa exceeded the DENR standards from October to December 2016.
Agbulos attributed the high coliform levels of public beaches to the fact that the entire public storm drainage line within the City proper are interconnected and drains in the Cawa Cawa beach. Moreover, the Sucabon river as well as existing sewerage pipelines also have its outfall towards the Philippine Ports Authority wharf, which is part of the area.
“These are storm drains, meaning agua de ulan lang era pwede pasa alyi. But there are some houses along the storm drains that connect el di ila drainage...and converts it into a drainage system. That is our initial concern,” he said.
Towards this end, Agbulos said the Task Force Aplaya, together with all concerned agencies, recommends the following: coordination with the Office of the City Environment and Natural Resources to schedule regular coastal and river clean-up, and to conduct information, education, and communication campaign (IEC) on proper solid waste and septage management, and coordination with the City Engineers Office and barangay officials to conduct survey/inspection to identify dwellings with pipe connection for domestic wastewater being discharged into the river and storm drainage.
Relative to enforcement and sanctions, Agbulos said they are waiting for an executive order to provide for the mandates and directives of Task Force Aplaya. The city health officer also called for the review of relevant City ordinances to address the concern of the City’s public beaches.
Task Force Aplaya was formed per Memorandum Order No. 013, series of 2017 which composed of Sanitation Inspectors to conduct surveillance/study on the contributing factor of high level of e-coli in public beaches particularly Cawa-Cawa and Caragasan beach. (Jasmine Mohammadsali)
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