You have seen the news and the photos circulating social media. These show how the environment is reacting to the current global pandemic COVID-19 which forced people to stay indoors. Many have observed that skies are clearing up and the air is much better than ever before because of the drastic change in our day-to-day lives. Sure, pollution has diminished abundantly due to the suspension of transport systems and almost every establishment in the country. But let’s face it: Mother Earth requires more than us staying in our houses to heal. Another thing that caught Filipinos is the discoloration of the Manila Bay. A lot has associated this with the positive change in the environment, but experts said the cause otherwise.
The “new Boracay”
On Facebook, one netizen shared photos of what he called the “new Boracay,” pertaining to the bluish and turquoise color of the Manila Bay. The speculations as to why the sudden discoloration occurred mostly referred to as the effect of the absence of usual human activities and marine traffic as a result of the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine due to the novel coronavirus.
However, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) was quick to dismiss this theory. According to them, it might be “an indication that water pollution in the area is getting worse due to pollutants.”
PCG Spokesperson Commodore Armand Balilo further explained, “Nagkakaroon ng discoloration [‘yung tubig] minsan kapag merong mga pollutants or ‘yung mga pool na may chlorine na [tapos] nag-discharge sila ng water.”
Meanwhile, PCG vowed to continually investigate the matter as part of Manila Bay’s rehabilitation.
While this sounds like a buzzkill or a sad realization, it’s best that we fact-check every detail at this time. We don’t want to be agents of fake news, right? Together, let’s not just fight this virus, but also the threat of misinformation.