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World Bank to help fund Manila Bay cleanup.

The World Bank plans to provide the Philippines financing for a project aimed at addressing water pollution in Manila Bay.

World Bank documents showed that the $17.3-million Integrated Water Quality Management Project to be implemented by the Laguna Lake Development Authority would be partly financed by the multilateral lender's Global Environment Facility, with $7.4 million being considered to be tapped from the trust fund.

The Philippine government, meanwhile, will provide counterpart funding worth $9.9 million.

The World Bank board is expected to tackle the investment project financing in March next year following appraisal this month.

In a report, the World Bank noted that Manila Bay was 'central to the economic development of the country, affecting the lives of some 30 million people, 13 million of which are in Metro Manila.'

'With a 190-kilometer coastline and an area of 17,600 square kilometers, Manila Bay's coastal and marine resources provide livelihood and food to millions of Filipinos and is considered the country's main port for maritime, trade and travel. Collectively, the Manila Bay and its inland waterways are comprised of 26 major catchments covering nine provinces, 21 cities and 177 municipalities,' it added.

However, the World Bank said that years of institutional neglect and environmental abuse rendered the water quality of the bay unfit for human contact.

Organic pollution, heavy metals and fecal coliform levels in some hotspots are in the hazardous range, it said.

Despite a Supreme Court ruling in 2008 mandating its cleanup, rehabilitation, protection and preservation, the World Bank lamented that the current efforts to cleanup Manila Bay and its waterways were fragmented and lacked a strategic framework for monitoring and management of water pollution.

As such, the proposed World Bank financing would strengthen institutional capacity and systems to manage water pollution in Manila Bay and its tributaries.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Nov 5, 2018
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