EMB to declare Ormoc Bay as water quality management area
TACLOBAN CITY – The Environmental Management Bureau(EMB) here in the region is batting for the declaration of the Ormoc Bay in Ormoc City as a water quality management area (WQMA).
The designation of WQMA is one of the strategies identified to effectively enforce the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004 and improve the water quality of water bodies through focused interventions or actions that are designed to address specific water quality issues of the areas.
In designating the WQMA, water quality problems, its sources of pollution, and the beneficial use of the receiving water body shall be taken into consideration; and shall determine what combination of control measures can effectively achieve water quality objectives or improvements.
The Ormoc Bay was prioritized for the WQMA designation due to various sources of pollution such as domestic wastewater and industrial effluent with Ormoc City being a center for commerce, industry and transportation; it has an active group of NGOs fully supported by the LGUs, concerned NGAs, and the private sector; and, it has an available water quality monitoring data.
With Ormoc City’s economy on an upswing, being the commercial and geothermal center in Leyte island, it also sits as neighbour to big companies such as the Leyte Industrial Development Estate in the nearby town of Isabel, which is home of the Philippine Phosphate Fertilizer Plant, the largest fertilizer factory in Asia, and the Philippine Associated Smelter and Refining Company, the country’s biggest copper processing plant, among other industries.
Ormoc Bay was found out by the EMB-8 to be high in boron, coliform wastes and bacterial count.
As part of its activities in the designation of Ormoc Bay as a WQMA, a stakeholders’ meeting was already held early on while public consultations are still ongoing.
After the conduct of public consultations, the governing board for the Ormoc Bay would be formed. Under the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004, the governing board shall be composed of representatives of mayors and governors as well as local government units, representatives of relevant national government agencies, duly registered non-government organizations, the concerned water utility sector and the business sector.
A P1 million fund would be provided to the Ormoc LGU from the office of Sen. Pia Cayetano while the EMB-8 will provide technical assistance to the board. The governing board will likewise design major programs and projects attuned on water quality management and shall formulate strategies to coordinate that will be most effective in the implementation of the Clean Water Act.
Water Quality Management Areas, it was learned, are certain areas using appropriate physiographic unit, such as watersheds, river basins or water resource regions. These management areas shall have similar hydrological, hydrogeological, meteorological or geographical conditions which affect the physico-chemical, biological and bacteriological reactions and diffusion of pollutants in the water bodies or otherwise share a common interest or such as similar development programs, prospects, or problems. (AHLETTE C. REYES)
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