Water quality in Bacuit Bay, El Nido, has improved from 2013 to 2017 in terms of fecal coliform presence despite the influx of tourists.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) Mimaropa Region stated this Thursday in a statement released by OIC Regional Director Engr. Maria Socorro Abu.
According to the press statement, the recent water quality “monitoring result shows that the overall fecal coliform of the four monitoring stations passed the DENR standard of 100 most probable number (MPN) per 100 milliliters.”
Although the statement did not say when the monitoring tests were conducted, Abu’s statement said the improvement could be attributed to a project of the local government of El Nido to dislodge the septic tanks of commercial establishments.
“This could be attributed to the dislodging of the septic tanks of commercial establishments, where the sludge deposits were collected and treated in the Water Supply, Sewerage and Sewage Treatment Plant,” the statement said.
The EMB Mimaropa added the project was undertaken by the municipal government to address the problem of untreated wastewater discharges in commercial establishments.
In the past few years, the EMB Mimaropa conducted a series of monitoring in the water quality of the beaches in El Nido.
A study conducted in 2013 revealed that the beach water in the tourist town contains high level of fecal coliform, an indicator of water quality and a type of bacteria which, when ingested, may lead to serious health problems.
The regional EMB stated the Phase 1 of the El Nido treatment facility at Sitio Batbat, Barangay Villa Libertad had been in operation since 2014, servicing the barangays of Buena Suerte, Maligaya, Masagana, and Corong-Corong.
The Phase 2 will kick off this year to service barangay Villa Libertad and Pasadena, while Phase 3 will start in 2023 and will cater barangays Baratuan and Bucana.
“EMB Mimaropa, through Regional Director Maria Socorro Abu, assures its continuous efforts in keeping Bacuit Bay and the water quality of El Nido to its intended beneficial use,” it said.
The action to create a task force to clean up El Nido, the EMB Mimaropa said, strengthens efforts to improve the environmental compliance of commercial establishments to support the Clean Water Act as one of the priority programs of DENR Sec. Roy A Cimatu.
It also abides by the campaign of President Rodrigo Duterte in improving the water quality of beaches throughout the Philippines.
To date, the EMB Mimaropa said that 303 commercial establishments in five barangays in El Nido had been monitored and inspected from February 22 to March 2.
Of the total number, “the special task force was able to inspect roughly 99% of the total number of establishments in the municipality.”
“Notices of violation will be issued to establishments found to be non-compliant to different environmental laws,” the statement further stated.