Mar 26, 2020

Many may have fallen victim to viral photos in the past few days of dolphin sightings in Venice, with people saying the Earth is finally healing as we take refuge into our homes because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

National Geographic writer Natasha Daly, writing about this misinformation says, “The phenomenon highlights how quickly eye-popping, too-good-to-be-true rumors can spread in times of crisis. People are compelled to share posts that make them emotional. When we’re feeling stressed, joyous animal footage can be an irresistible salve.”

There is, however, some truth to that “fake news” as the waters of Venice seems to have cleared up owing to the decrease in the number of boats going about its canals.

Clear view of Sierra Madre ⛰

Posted by Johair Siscar Addang on Monday, March 23, 2020

[READ: Beyond majestic photos, Sierra Madre is still facing threats of deforestation]

Here, people are also posting these so-called “environmental miracles,” with the viral photo of the Sierra Madre as seen clearly from a high-rise condominium in Pasig City leading the charge. It was believed that the sighting was made possible due to the decrease of smog caused by smoke-belching vehicles, which are now a rare sight in Metro Manila roads.

Boracay-like waters

Parang ang linis ng Manila Bay ngayon ano? Boracay level!

Posted by John Angue on Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Manila Bay 03252020 ❤️For the Lord is a great God,a great King above all gods.He holds in his hands the depths of…

Posted by Jenny Francisco on Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Another environmental miracle is making the rounds on social media are photos of Manila Bay, whose murky waters has now supposedly turned turquoise blue, almost like the world-famous Boracay beach.

Posted by Jenny Francisco on Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Photos and footage from workers still stationed near the bay reveal waters near the shoreline have magically been clearer. The first viral photo uploading on Mar. 25 shows a part of the bay in front of the SM Mall of Asia complex taken by a Microtel employee.

One video upload on UNTV News and Rescue’s Twitter page was supposedly taken by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Undersecretary Benny Antiporda yesterday.

Many netizens stipulate that the shore has “healed” because nearby establishments like restaurants have ceased operations since the implementation of the community quarantine almost two weeks ago.

Last year, DENR and the Laguna Lake Development Authority have ordered the closure of fast food chains in Ermita and Macapagal Boulevard for throwing their sewage directly onto Manila Bay.

Noticeably absent too from the latest photos were the ships and cargos. The coast guard has ordered a no-sail policy in Manila Bay two weeks ago in line with the implementation of community quarantine in Manila.

No confirmation yet

Apart from a statement and footage supposedly from DENR Usec. Antiporda, the agency has yet to confirm if the photos circulating were true. Most reposts point to a single source or tagged as “photo sent by a friend.”

There are other photos showing the far side of the bay with its deep blue hue dated this week.

Photo taken by a resident living in a high-rise three blocks away from Manila Bay at 11:30 a.m. today

A bad sign

In 2014, around the same time around March, the same phenomenon has happened in Manila Bay where the water appeared to have cleared up. The Philippine Coast Guard then immediately went there but did not see any clear water. Fisherfolks and ship operators interviewed five years ago said the water immediately returned to its murky state once agitated.

One specific location has been pinpointed in that report: a spot in the bay directly in front of a hotel. But the conclusions then were far more gloom as along with the clear waters came floating dead fishes.

Then Manila Bay Coordination Office Executive Director Engr. Noel Gaerlan suspected that the “bleaching” was likely caused by illegal disposal of disinfectants and other chemicals into the water.

Others have observed that this is an annual phenomenon that happens when the temperature of the water rises leading to an exponential growth of algae. Said discoloration can be fatal for marine creatures.

One Twitter user and marine advocacy account @MangingisdaSays said that it is unlikely a case of algal bloom, as the water is clear, almost like a swimming pool hinting at possible discoloration due to chlorination.

“Kung papansinin ninyo, kakulay ng tubig ang swimming pool na nag-undergo ng chlorination. Sa natural na mga coasts, ganyan ang kulay pag mababaw. Pero knowing na malalim ang Roxas Blvd dahil reclaimed ito, imposible na natural coloration iyan,” they said.

 

Header photo courtesy of John Angue on Facebook

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Read more:

Old photos from the glory days of Manila Bay before it was a “toilet bowl”

Manila Bay, a “magnified cesspool,” to undergo Boracay-like rehab in January

Isko promises revival of Escolta, Manila Bay, Intramuros, and other historic Manila landmarks by 2021

 

 

TAGS: boracay covid-19 enhanced community quarantine manila manila bay