Metro Manila's cesspool
Manila Bay is one of the world's great harbors. Long ago, it was the go-to place to swim and have a great view of the sun setting in the nation's capital.
But years of domestic, industrial, and commercial pollution have turned it into the Philippines' top marine "cesspool," its waters deemed unfit for swimming and diving.
Acting on a complaint filed by concerned citizens, the Supreme Court declared in 2008 a writ of continuing mandamus, directing the government to clean up and rehabilitate Manila Bay and make its waters safe for contact recreation.
The court was told that water samples from various beaches around Manila Bay showed a fecal coliform content ranging from 50,000 to 80,000 Most Probable Number (MPN)/ml, way above the prescribed safe level of 200 MPN/100 ml.
In its landmark ruling, the Supreme Court said:
"The importance of the Manila Bay as a sea resource, playground, and as a historical landmark cannot be over-emphasized. It is not yet too late in the day to restore the Manila Bay to its former splendor and bring back the plants and sea life that once thrived in its blue waters.
"But the tasks ahead, daunting as they may be, could only be accomplished if those mandated, with the help and cooperation of all civic-minded individuals, would put their minds to these tasks and take responsibility."