Coastal waters off Mactan contain bacteria from feces

THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) found high levels of fecal bacteria in the seawater off some public beaches in Lapu-Lapu City.

Samples collected last year contained coliform bacteria of about 13,000 most probable number (MPN) per 100 milliliters (MPN per 100 ml). The safe level of fecal coliform in waters for swimming is 1,000 MPN per 100 ml.

Cindylyn Pepito, DENR Environmental Management Bureau (EMB)-Central Visayas ambient monitoring section chief, told reporters in a press conference Wednesday that fecal bacteria above safe levels pose a health hazard on the public.

She said that high traces of coliform in the water may also affect the quality of fish and seafood caught in contaminated waters.

She said that coliform bacteria can be found in public beaches due to lack of waste management.

Aside from beaches in Lapu-Lapu City, the coastlines of Liloan, Consolacion and Mandaue City in Cebu; and Panglao in Bohol are also being monitored for fecal coliform contamination.

Pepito said that the DENR monitors the coastal waters in these areas because of their tourism value.

To address the presence of fecal bacteria in public beaches in Lapu-Lapu City, the DENR-EMB and the Lapu-Lapu City Government launched the Beach Ecowatch Program (BEP) to monitor the quality of coastal waters in the city.

At present, the BEP covers 12 priority areas in Lapu-Lapu City.

Aside from beaches, the DENR-EMB also monitors the water quality of six river systems in Cebu.

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