The Manila Bay area is the Philippines’ major center of economic activity ranging from shipping, industrial, commercial, fishing, aquaculture and tourism activities. With the various developments taking place in and around the bay, the natural environment is facing threats from different factors: over-population, pollution from land- and sea-based sources, over and illegal fishing, uncontrolled development, loss of habitats, and decreasing resources. The effects of these problems are the significant degradation of the ecosystems and biodiversity thereby affecting the needs of all living things along the bay.
Major environmental problems identified in Manila Bay include: deterioration of water quality; coastal erosion and siltation; overexploitation of fishery resources; degradation of habitats; and loss of biodiversity. Most of the pollution was from land-based human activities, including the discharge of municipal, industrial and agricultural wastes, land runoff and atmospheric deposition. About 21 percent of the organic pollution load to Manila Bay came from the Pasig River basin, with 70 percent of this load derived from households.
The multisectoral Manila Bay Coordinating Committee adopted the Operational Plan for the Manila Bay Coastal Strategy, the Manila Bay Oil Spill Contingency Plan, the Coastal Use Zoning Plan of Bataan, and the Integrated Environmental Monitoring Program (IEMP).
The Manila Bay Five-year IEMP
- Included pollution and habitat/resource monitoring
- Focused initially on the bay area, gradually expanding to cover the tributaries and watershed area
- Engaged 7 national government agencies including 25 bureaus, attached agencies and regional offices; 11 local government units; 1 university; and 2 private sector/NGO
- Used PEMSEA's Integrated Information Management System for Coastal and Marine Environment (IIMS)
- Cost around PHP6.5 million/year (around $130,000)