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JSPES, Vol. 40, No. 4 (Winter 2015)
pp. 446–457

Unraveling Sanitation and Sewerage Concerns in a Developing Country Metropolis: The Case of Metro Manila, Philippines

Rosalina Palanca-Tan

Department of Economics,
Ateneo de Manila University

In Metro Manila, the foremost urban area in the Philippines, wastewater from residential dwellings accounts for about 60% of the pollution load in rivers and other water bodies. This is due to inadequate domestic wastewater treatment facilities. Up to the present, only about 8% of households are connected to sewer lines. The majority make use of individually constructed septic tanks, many of which are substandard and are not properly maintained or regularly desludged of septage. Those in informal settlement areas dispose of their wastewater directly to drainage canals, creeks or rivers. Programs to expand sewerage coverage are constrained by huge financial requirements and lack of popular support. Education and information campaigns to raise awareness and understanding of the issues related to wastewater-induced pollution of water bodies and health problems are necessary to gain people’s cooperation and support for domestic wastewater treatment programs.