Panglao, Mactan waters have ‘improved’
THE quality of the waters off the islands of Mactan in Cebu and Panglao in Bohol has “drastically improved” compared to last year.
William Cuñado, Environmental Management Bureau in Central Visayas (EMB-7) director, said tests indicated there were improvements from the 2017 consolidated report by the Environmental Management Bureau central office that showed fecal coliform content in the waters off Panglao and Mactan had exceeded safe levels.
“I could say that the water samples from Panglao have already passed the safety standards,” he told Cebu Daily News in an interview on Wednesday.
In the case of Mactan, he added, while there were improvements, he could not give specifics since the results of the three sets of tests had yet to be consolidated.
But he added it helped when the DENR issued notices of violations to establishments in Mactan that didn’t have discharge permits and waste water facilities.
“It’s premature to say that it (Mactan sea) is safe for now. We don’t have control over a lot of things. It’s up to the stakeholders (resort owners) to do their thing to address the problem,” he added.
“But I can say that there have been much improvements in the Mactan sea though we’re in the process of determining the specific safety level,” he said.
Cebu Daily News contacted Carlo Anton Suarez, president of the Hotels, Resorts, and Restaurants Association of Cebu (HRRAC), but he begged off from issuing a statement.
In an earlier interview, Suarez said they were bothered by EMB’s report regarding the presence of fecal coliform in the water off Mactan Island.
Since the start of 2018, Cuñado said they released 650 notices of violation to resort owners in Central Visayas for their failure to comply with the environmental standards in treating their waste products.
He said this contributed to the decrease in fecal coliform in the sea waters off Mactan.
“We appeal to them (resort owners) to not discharge their waste products to the sea unless they undergo the proper water treatment procedure,” he said.
“We ask them to cooperate with us in our efforts to lower down the presence of fecal coliform in the areas,” he added.
Cuñado said resort owners should hire contractors that can haul and properly dispose their trash.
Mactan and Panglao are prime tourist destinations in Central Visayas and home to several resorts and hotels.
But recently, Mactan and Panglao were among the islands that have been found to have high levels of coliform that exceeded safe standards after President Duterte ordered the rehabilitation of Boracay Island which he described as a “cesspool.”
The government has closed down Boracay for up to six months starting on April 26 so it can be rehabilitated. /with a report from Jose Santino Bunachita
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