The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has reiterated its warning against attempting to swim at the Manila Bay as it remains unsafe for such purposes, local reports said.
Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said bathing at the bay is still not advisable due to high levels of fecal coliform, referring to bacteria connected with fecal material from humans and other animals.
“Bathing in Manila Bay can expose people to high levels of fecal coliform bacteria, which could increase their chances of developing illnesses. Government has not yet given the all-clear signal for swimming,” Cimatu said on Wednesday.
Although the fecal coliform count has improved to 7.5 million most probable number (mpn) per 100 milliliters from from 330 million mpn/100ml, the levels are still far from safe levels.
The DENR chief issued the warning anew after seeing photos and videos of people swimming in waters along Roxas Blvd. that made rounds in social media sites.
Meanwhile, the agency will erect a perimeter fence at the seawall of the Manila Baywalk --the seaside public walkway overlooking Manila Bay along Roxas Blvd. to discourage people from bathing while rehabilitation efforts are ongoing.
"We are about to close the swimming area. We did not anticipate the influx of people. We are closing the beach front," Cimatu told reporters during the Kapihan sa Manila Bay news forum.
The DENR will also build a barricade covering the area from the Manila Yacht Club to the US Embassy in the next three days.
The closure of the beachfront may last for six months but Cimatu said people can still watch sunset at the bay along the Baywalk.