Surrounded by three regions and 16 rivers that drain into it, Manila Bay has inevitably become a catch basin for solid wastes that threaten surrounding human and marine life. Notwithstanding the bay’s dire condition, managers of the emerging business district Aseana City bordered by Roxas Boulevard aspire to help rehabilitate it, one estero or canal at a time.
The Aseana Business Park Estate Association (ABPEA) has assumed responsibility for removing trash from the portions of the Redemptorist Water Channel and Roxas East Canal within the 204-hectare community masterplanned to be the next major business district of Metro Manila.
Daily, personnel assigned by Aseana City collect eight to 10 sacks or roughly 250 to 300 kilograms per week of garbage generated by those living upstream in these canals. The quantity of trash doubles during typhoons.
“We know it will take years to fully clean up the esteros, but, we do what we can to improve it day by day,” said ABPEA estate manager Pablo Magsakay. ABPEA is among the partner donors of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in its Adopt-an-Estero program.
“ABPEA’s partnership with DENR dates back to June 2013 when it began rehabilitating the 1,404-meter Redemptorist Water Channel, stretching from Roxas Boulevard to Manila Bay. The water channel which used to be filled with piles of trash, according to ABPEA pollution control officer Rhiza Montaces, is now much cleaner and has even become a habitat for shallow fish like tilapia.
The time it will take to fully restore waterways cannot be guaranteed, but we have seen improvements and our efforts have proven to be effective,” Montaces said.
Montaces said ABPEA also sends up to 70 volunteers to help pick up trash in these canals during weekends. Volunteers include representatives of business locators in the city.
Manila Bay is home to several reclamation projects, including Aseana City which includes the City of Dreams, Solaire, offices, and retail areas. Aseana City is accessible via the Macapagal Boulevard and is a gateway to populous cities in the south through the NAIA expressway and Cavitex.
“We encourage our locators to join cleanup drives because it will take a community to save Manila Bay,” Montaces said. He added that ABPEA plans to persuade other major business locators to partner with DENR in rehabilitating other waterways leading to Manila Bay.