Health office warns vs swimming in public beaches

THE Zamboanga City Health Office warned residents anew against swimming in public beaches due to the presence of high levels of fecal coliform.

“Initially, we have decided that we are coming out with posters and billboards in the area prohibiting people from swimming in the Boulevard,” city health officer Rodelin Agbulos said.

According to the investigation conducted by Task Force Aplaya, the city’s public beaches, particularly the Cawa-Cawa and Caragasan beaches, registered high levels of Escherichia coli or e-coli, and exceeded the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) standards for total suspended solids, oil and grease, and fecal coliform.

Agbulos said the high number of fecal coliform has made the waters of Cawa-Cawa unsafe for any use.

Coliform is a bacterium that can cause diseases and illness like typhoid fever, dysentery, cholera, and gastroenteritis in the waters.

In the report, Agbulos said the fecal coliform levels in the waters of Cawa-Cawa exceeded the DENR standards from October to December 2016.

He attributed the high coliform levels of public beaches to the fact that the entire public storm drainage line within the city proper are interconnected and drains in the Cawa-Cawa beach.

The Sucabon River as well as existing sewerage pipelines also have its outfall towards the Philippine Ports Authority wharf, which is part of the area. (Bong Garcia/SunStar Philippines)
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