EMB clarifies Mactan beaches are ‘clean, safe for swimming’

By: Jhunnex Napallacan, Nestle L. Semilla, Norman V. Mendoza March 09,2016 - 10:22 PM
Children have fun in a beach in Lapu-Lapu City in this 2008 file photo.

Children have fun in a beach in Lapu-Lapu City in this 2008 file photo.

Lapu-Lapu mayor: Reports on coliform contamination could hurt resorts

Environment officials yesterday clarified that the coastal waters of Mactan Island are clean and safe for swimming just as Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza scored them for releasing reports on coliform contamination in some beaches.

“They should have carefully checked (before releasing the report) because it affects Lapu-Lapu’s economy a lot, particularly those in the tourism industry,” Radaza said.

Coliform bacteria come from the feces of humans and other warm-blooded animals.

Radaza said water samples taken from at least 11 resorts along the Hilutongan Channel last March 3 yielded coliform levels that were way below the acceptable level.

William Cuñado, Environment Management Bureau (EMB-7) regional director, said their monthly monitoring of the water quality in Mactan also showed that the coliform level was mostly negligible last year.

It was only in August last year that coliform contamination peaked, rising to more than 5,000 most probable number (MPN) per 100 milliliter (ml). This was four times more than the acceptable level of 1,000 MPN/100 ml.

“Ang pag-increase sa total of coliform sa usa ka beach area or coastal area determinant siya. Depende sa gidaghanon sa mogamit sa dagat (The coliform level depends on the number of people in the waters),” he said.

The more people who go to the beaches, the higher the coliform level is likely to be, he added. This usually peaks in the months of May, August and October.

“Lapu-Lapu is a tourism area that’s why many people flock to the beaches there. Ikaduha, naay area sa Lapu-Lapu nga ang structure sa dagat kay cove type. Dakug possibility nga mo-increase ang coliform if cove type kay adto mag-concentrate ang bacteria (Secondly, there’s usually a high concentration of bacteria in cove-type beaches like those in Lapu-Lapu),” Cuñado said.

For the rest of last year, however, the coliform level ranged from zero to about 500 MPN/100 ml, still below the standard.

Cuñado said coliform bacteria doesn’t stay in one area long.

“Dali ra ma-dissolve ang coliform specially during high tide. Daghang tubig, mawala dayon na (It easily dissolves during high tide),” he said.

Mayor Radaza said she tasked city health officer Dr. Rodolfo Berame to send water samples to the Talisay Water Lab for testing.

Samples taken last March 3 from Crimson Resort showed a coliform level of 20 MPN per 100 ml and fecal coliform of 14 MPN per 100 ml.  Considered safe for swimming are coliform levels of at most 1,000 MPN per 100 ml and fecal coliform levels of at most 200 MPN per 100 ml.

Water samples taken from Be Mactan Resort in Barangay Punta Engaño  showed a coliform level of 430 MPN and fecal coliform of 43 MPN, both per 100 ml.

Blue Reef in Barangay Marigondon had total coliform and fecal coliform levels of only 2 MPN per 100 ml while Pacific Cebu Resort in Barangay Suba-basbas recorded total coliform of 59 MPN and fecal coliform of 29 MPN.

More samples were taken on March 8. The lab test results will be known next week.

“This is a regular thing each year to test our waters. The resorts themselves have twice a month regular clean-up and if laboratory results reach 1,000 (MPN), we call the attention of our CENRO (Community Environment and Natural Resources Office),” Radaza said.

Cindylyn Pepito, officer-in-charge of the Ambient Monitoring Section of EMB-7, asked the public to be more caring to the environment and avoid throwing human wastes and other trash into the waters.

“Atong pasidaan sa public, we really need to discipline ourselves nga di ta magpataka ug labay sa hugaw sa dagat (we shouldn’t wantonly throw trash into the sea),” she said.

Cuñado said he will meet with Mayor Radaza and the Department of Tourism to come up with a monitoring team that will safe guard the seawaters of Mactan.

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TAGS: coliform, EMB, Lapu-Lapu City, Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza, Mactan

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