SORSOGON CITY, November 28 (PIA) – Following the site verification of the physical environment surrounding Pilar Bay in Pilar town of Sorsogon, the Environment Management Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) - V recommended that the bay be classified as Class SC (Saline C).
As per the DENR Administrative Order No. 34 or the Revised Water Usage and Classification, surface water bodies in the country need to be classified. One of the bases of its classification is its characteristic in order to determine its usage.
EMB regional director Engr. Roberto D. Sheen, during the Pulic Hearing on Pilar Bay Classification conducted recently in Pilar town said that based on the data gathered and evaluation made by their team, Pilar Bay’s classification as Class SC would mean that the bay can be used as Recreational Water Class II (e.g. boating), Fishery Water Class II (commercial) and that the marshy and/or mangrove areas can be declared as fish and wildlife sanctuaries.
According to DENR Administrative Order (DAO) 34 series of 1990 or the Revised Water Usage and Classifications, water bodies for coastal and marine waters (as amended by DAO 97-23), where Pilar Bay is included, are classified into four classes: Class SA (water suitable for fishery production, national marine parks and reserves and coral reefs parks and reserves); Class SB (tourist zones and marine reserves; Recreational Water Class I (bathing, swimming, etc.) and Fishery Class I for milkfish; Class SC; and Class SD (Industrial Water Supply Class II and other coastal and marine waters.
In determining classification for Pilar Bay, 12 sampling stations surrounding the bay were established as follows: Approximately 50 meters from the Pilar Port; Approximately 100 meters from the mouth of Sta. Fe River; Approximately 30 meters from Dona Ana Islet; Approximately 100 meters from the mouth of Quidavid Lighthouse; Approximately 300 meters from the mouth of Barayong River; Approximately 500 meters from Tinago Point; Approximately 300 meters Brgy. San Rafael; Approximately 300 meters from Brgy. Oras; Middle of Stations 3, 4, 7 and 8; Approximately 200 meters from Brgy. Paniquian; Approximately 50 meters from the mouth of Tinago River; and Approximately 50 meters from the mouth of Putiao River.
EMB-V considered five water quality parameters in determining the classification of Pilar Bay namely: PH Level; Dissolved Oxygen (DO); Total Suspended Solids (TSS); Oil and Grease; and Nitrates (NO3) and Phosphates (PO4).
Sampling was done once every quarter for one year and the samples were collected from the said twelve established sampling stations.
RD Sheen made it clear that the classification does not preclude the usage of the bay to a lower classification such as Class SD water body. “The recommended classification is a security measure that the water quality condition of Pilar Bay will be maintained to a level that could sustainably bring about the productivity and best beneficial usage of said water body,” he added.
The surrounding area of Pilar Bay is mostly agricultural land and is densely populated on one part. Some portions are dominated by mangroves and is utilized for fish/aqua-culture, sustenance fishing and for navigation.
“Pilar Bay needs to be classified in order to protect its water quality and likewise determine the maximum potential usage and best applicable protection and management scheme of the body,” Sheen said.
In classifying any water body, Sheen explained that the determination of its water quality and actual usage is very vital. “The quality of the water is the psycho-chemical condition of the water body. A technically and acceptable classification is then based to the consolidation of these two criteria,” he further explained.
Pilar Municipal Agriculture Officer Victor Lee said that the recommended classification of Pilar Bay is a wake-up call on the part of the local government of Pilar and could be a strong basis of both the legislative and the executive body in finding time to sit down to arrive at certain measures to be done in order to improve the status of Pilar Bay believing that said bay has promising potentials aside from fishing and navigation activities.
The public hearing also served as an opportunity for local officials of Pilar to review the status of existing resorts surrounding Pilar Bay.
EMB-V Water Quality Management Services OIC Engr. Jocelyn R. Vinas said that with the recommended classification of the Bay now, existing beach resorts can be placed under the Eco-Beach Watch. The Eco-Beach Watch Program is one of the priority program activities of the EMB-DENR as part of advocacy for good water quality.
This aims to establish baseline data and provide the latest/updated information on the present quality of the bathing beaches. It also aims to inform the resort/facility owners to institute measures to improve the quality of their respective beaches. (BARecebido, PIA Sorsogon)