Environmentalists, bikers oppose Manila Bay reclamation projects

Image by Sa Ngalan Ng Gobyerno via Facebook
  • Around 100 bikers from various environmental groups and advocacy groups conducted a bike ride and coastal cleanup drive 
  • The activity is a kick-off of the Earth Day Ride within 20-kilometer route through the cities of Manila, Pasay, Parañaque and Las Piñas
  • They were joined by representatives from the DENR and more than 35 volunteers for the cleanup operation

In support of the campaign opposing the planned reclamation of Manila Bay, around 100 bikers coming from various environmental groups and bicycle advocacy groups, held a bike ride and a coastal cleanup at a marshland considered as a sanctuary for birds and mangroves.

The activity took place ahead of the Earth Day which is scheduled on April 22; an article written by Bianca Dava published on ABS-CBN stated as it also disclosed that the bikers gathered at the Manila City Hall before kicking off the Earth Day Ride within the 20-kilometer route running through the cities of Manila, Pasay, Parañaque and Las Piñas.

Ending their route at the Las Piñas-Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area (LPPCHEA), they were later joined by representatives from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and over 35 volunteers for the conduct of the cleanup operation.

As part of their activity, the volunteers and bikers collected debris to include bottles, plastics and other waste that had washed ashore on Freedom Island; on the southwest coast of Manila.

Mark Louie Aquino, coordinator of the Bikers Unite, said the area is considered as the last frontier of Metro Manila against extreme flooding.

Meanwhile, Nilad Chairman Mong Palatino, disclosed that about two truckloads of garbage are collected on Freedom Island every two months.

Palatino said the trash basically comes from a nearby shanty community and landfill that are being washed up on the island’s coastlines.

This, according to him, threatens the home and life of about 82 species of migratory birds.

Based on statistics, Manila has the highest garbage production in the Philippines, with its inhabitants producing 8,700 tons of trash on a daily basis.

Due to land reclamation, the groups said that Manila Bay’s shoreline has been reduced over the years; further adding that the waters have also become increasingly polluted.

The groups likewise noted that there are alternatives other than reclamation, such as cleanup, rehabilitation and restoration.

Furthermore, the groups posted a challenge to election candidates to include environment protection in their platforms of government.

Earlier, the Philippine Reclamation Authority has approved a National Reclamation Plan which proposes to reclaim 26,000 hectares of the Manila Bay.

The activity was organized by the Bikers Unite, Nilad, Save Freedom Island Movement, Earth Island Institute and the Office of Senator Cynthia Villar.