MANILA — Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu on Sunday said there’s no turning back for the planned rehabilitation of the historic Manila Bay.

Cimatu led an estimated 5,000-strong contingent of public and private sector representatives, who committed to help rehabilitate Manila Bay to save it from further environmental degradation.

He afterwards issued several directives related to cleaning up Manila Bay while authorities served cease and desist orders (CDOs), as well as notices of violation (NOVs), to establishments found polluting this water body.

"There's no turning back," he said.

Cimatu raised the urgency for rehabilitative multi-sector action, noting that decades-long flow of solid waste and untreated discharges into Manila Bay raised level of coliform bacteria there to over 330 million most probable number (MPN) per 100 milliliters. The safe coliform level is 100 MPN per 100 milliliters only,

According to Cimatu, the rehabilitation targets the reduction of coliform level in Manila Bay to such safe level so water there can be fit again for swimming and other forms of contact recreation.

"We launched the biggest battle against environmental abuse upon this jewel of historical heritage," he noted.

In declaring the start of the rehabilitation, he ordered the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) to issue CDOs and NOVs to establishments within the agency's jurisdiction if there have environmental violations, including those adversely affecting Manila Bay.

He also ordered DENR and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to further promote cleanliness.

"Manila Bay is not a lost cause -- with the commitment of all, there's no doubt we'll win this battle," he said.

Authorities said CDO-issued establishments must comply with wastewater treatment requirements and other environmental regulations.

Establishments that received NOVs must explain to government how they plan to address respective environmental violations.

"We'll deal with the problem right at source," Cimatu added. (PNA)