Seawater in Cebu coastal town declared unsafe by DENR-EMB

John Sitchon
Seawater in Cebu coastal town declared unsafe by DENR-EMB

NEW POLICY. Cordova Mayor Cesar 'Didoy' Suan wants to remove all fixed cottages in Barangay Catarman and Poblacion after data from DENR EMB 7 revealed that there was high fecal coliform levels in those areas.

Municipality of Cordova FB page

In some areas measured by the DENR-EMB Central Visayas, fecal coliform levels along the Cordova coast were at 2,400 most probable number (MPN), exceeding the safe level threshold of 100 MPN per 100 milliliters

CEBU, Philippines – The Environmental Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources of Central Visayas (DENR-EMB 7) said Wednesday, August 17, that seawater in Cordova town in this province has way overshot safe levels.

“We found that the highest fecal coliform levels was at 2,400 most probable number (MPN),” said Cindylyn Pepito-Ochea of DENR EMB 7.

“The water has failed [standards] or it has a very bad quality making it unsafe,” Ochea said in Cebuano. Based on water quality standards, safe levels are at 100 MPN per 100 milliliters (ml).

Ochea explained that the large concentration of floating and fixed cottages near Cordova’s shorelines may be contributors to the high coliform levels. These cottages are located near Barangays Catarman and Poblacion.

According to Nanette Garong, executive secretary to Cordova Mayor Cesar “Didoy” Suan, there are more than 200 cottage owners and around 160 identified bangkeros (ferrymen) in the said area.

The DENR EMB 7, headed by Regional Director Maribel Munsayac, recommended that the local government take immediate action and convene meetings with the appropriate agencies, especially the provincial government.

Earlier in July, Suan banned the construction of new floating/fixed cottages due to the increasing amount of pollution in the area.

Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia signed Executive Order No. 19 on August 9, prohibiting residents from constructing illegal structures along the Cordova shoreline. 

This time, Garcia said, “cottage owners and bangkeros would only have until August 28 to conduct their business” before she orders a complete halt in their operations.

The period when operations cease will be used to rehabilitate the areas with high fecal coliform levels. 

Suan told stakeholders Wednesday that he planned to remove all fixed cottages and convert these into modernized floating cottages equipped with comfort rooms and better waste management systems.

“We are looking for the long-term solution so let us sacrifice a bit in the meantime as this is for the good of all,” Suan said in a mix of English and Cebuano –

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