DENR-XI intensifies monitoring of Samal coastal waters, beach resorts

With press release - denr-xi intensifies monitoring of samal coastal waters resizedthe current environmental problems of Boracay Island, Environmental Management Bureau (EMB-XI) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources will intensify its regular monitoring on the coastal waters and beach resorts of Island Garden City of Samal (IGACOS) in Davao del Norte.

Through the creation of the Regional Inter-Agency Technical Committee (RIATC) last year, EMB-XI has been working closely with the Department of Health, Department of Tourism and the concerned Local Government Units to conduct surveillance and alert the public on the state of water quality of beaches as these are frequently visited by both domestic and foreign tourists.

Aside from monitoring the water quality of Samal Island, EMB-XI is also strictly monitoring beach resorts to determine their compliance in terms of having septage treatment facilities in their establishment considering that one of the major sources of pollution is the inadequate treated domestic wastewater.

Last year, EMB-XI has monitored 9 beach resorts in Samal of which all these have septage treatment facilities. This year, the Bureau will be monitoring all beach resorts in Region XI considering that clean water and clean air are among the 10 priority programs of DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu.

Earlier this week, Cimatu appealed tourism hotspots nationwide to plan their sewerage and septage systems in a bid to avoid these destinations from suffering the fate of Boracay. "Let us not wait until it is too late. We need to put in the investment in the sewage systems of these places now while we still can so that these places can avoid the problems facing Boracay today. It is better to build sewerage treatment facilities now than face a catastrophe later," Cimatu said.

DENR estimated that there are around 17.5 million liters of waste water generated in the island every day. Of this volume, it is said that there are only about half that is treated properly while the other half is discharged untreated. About 30 to 40 percent of the untreated waste water comes from private homes while the rest is said to come from business establishments.
At present, DENR mission team has already started its work to rehabilitate Boracay. The team has been divided into six groups and is surveying different areas of the island, looking for violations such as missing environmental compliance certificates and failure to connect to the sewage treatment plants.

Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo said during an interview that beach resort owners in Samal Island should learn from the mistakes of establishments in Boracay which are facing closure and that they have to take care of their environment because eventually they will be like Boracay.

With what has been happening to Boracay, one of EMB-XI's targets this year is to have a Water Quality Management Area (WQMA) in Samal Island to protect, through stakeholders collaboration, the water body and its tributaries by keeping their water quality within the Water Quality Guidelines or Criteria conforming to the water body's classification or even improve the quality to higher classification.

Section 5 of Republic Act 9275 or the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004 is tasking the DENR in coordination with the National Water Resources Board to designate certain areas as water quality management areas using appropriate physiographic units such as watershed river basins or water resources regions.



3 Foreigners Arrested for Illegal Possession of Endangered Tree Species

Three5-17 press release - 3 foreigners arrested for illegal possession of endangered tree species resized foreigners were arrested last week by the joint team of National Bureau of Investigations (NBI), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Bureau of Immigration (BI) officers in a hotel here in Davao City for illegal possession of endangered tree species. 
A Cambodian national and two other Malaysian nationals were caught by surprise when operatives from the NBI XI and officials from DENR XI and BI XI came to their hotel room last May 10, 2018. The three were arrested for violation of Section 77 of Presidential Decree 705 as amended by Executive Order No. 277, and Executive Order No. 23 or the Moratorium in the Cutting of Natural Grown Tree Species. 

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