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DENR probes Manila Bay fish kill: natural causes, cyanide, or sabotage?

File photo: A resident of Baseco in Tondo Manila tries his luck in catching fish and seems to be carefree on what the rehabilitation controversy as long as he can have food to put on his table for his family at Baseco beach which is part of the famed Manila bay. (Photo by NONIE REYES)

THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is investigating the reported fish kill in Manila Bay.

This, after assorted fish species were spotted floating near the Baseco Compound, some 5.1 kilometers away from the Baywalk area, the site of the controversial P389-million Manila Bay Beach Nourishment Project.

“We are not discounting the possibility that the fish kill was caused by natural causes or possibly cyanide fishing near the area. But we are also not discounting the possibility that it is an act of sabotage to discredit our initiatives in Manila Bay,” Undersecretary Benny Antiporda said.

The DENR’s undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units Concerns said almost the same time last year, on October 10, a fish kill in Manila Bay was reported.

This was attributed by experts to the drastic decrease in dissolved oxygen level in Manila Bay.

The official dismissed the insinuation by critics of the project that the dumped crushed dolomite may be the reason for the fish kill.

“There are insinuations that the dolomite is to blame.  How could that be when the project site is some 5 kilometers away from the fish kill?” he said.

Antiporda, who conducted an inspection on the site, said water samples from the area were already obtained and laboratory tests are being done.

He said he spotted tilapia floating near Baseco Beach.

“We are not discounting the possibility that this is an act of sabotage.  I really wish it was not,” he said.

Antiporda said on September 19, the DENR will lead the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) Day Celebration in the “Boracay-like” Beach in Manila Bay.

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