Workers collect thousands of dead fish among rubbish along Manila Bay in Oct. 11.

Photographer: Ted Aljibe/AFP via Getty Images

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More than 4,500 businesses around Manila Bay could face closure for violating environmental laws as the Philippine capital fights a garbage crisis, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said.

“No matter how many times we clean the shoreline of Manila Bay, the garbage always comes back. We have to start addressing it at the source,” Cimatu said at a forum organized by Stratbase, a Manila-based consultancy group.

The heavily polluted Manila Bay, which has a coastline of 190 kilometers and connects 17 major river systems in the capital and nearby areas, is being cleaned and should be 80% complete in the next two years, he said.

Metro Manila produces 9.3 million kilograms of solid waste every day, of which only 85% is collected, while the remaining ends up in waterways, according to data from the Environment Department.

The department has also expanded garbage collection to hard-to-reach neighborhoods of informal settlers, whose waste usually ends up thrown in waterways, Cimatu said. New guidelines for pilot waste-to-energy projects for municipal solid waste will be issued this month, he said.

Other Highlights

  • The Environment Department will issue rules regulating the use of single-use plastics this month, after President Rodrigo Duterte called for a nationwide ban in November, Cimatu said.
  • A separate bill on single-use plastics has been filed in the Senate, prohibiting the importation and use in food and retail establishments, Senator Cynthia Villar said in the same conference.
  • The 2020 national budget will allot funding for the construction of a plastic recycling facility in every city and province, according to Villar, who chairs the Senate environment committee. The budget will also allocate funds for a compost facility in every municipality.

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