DENR: Manila Bay dolomite not washed out

Throngs of people have gathered along Roxas Boulevard last September 20, for a chance to view the Manila bay white sand. | photo by Marianne Bermudez

THE Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Wednesday, October 14, maintained that dolomite “white sand” along Manila Bay was not washed out by the recent rains.

“Wala pong na wash out, hindi po nabawasan yung ating white dolomite ang nadagdagan tayo ng black sand galing sa ilalim ng dagat (Nothing was washed out, the black sand from the sea were instead washed in from the sea),” DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda said in a briefing.

According to him, about two to three inches of black sand settled on top of the dolomite white sand after being “washed in” by the recent rains.

Antiporda stressed that authorities will clean up the darker sand.

“Kaya ho hindi pa talaga mini-maintain ngayon dahil this is still under the jurisdiction of the contractor (The reason why we are not yet maintaining is because this is still under the jurisdiction of the contractor),” he said.

He likewise turned down the suggestion of marine biologists from the University of the Philippines to plant mangroves in Manila Bay.

“You cannot put it in the middle of the baywalk area wherein it will destroy the landscape, hindi magandang tingnan and at the same time hindi mabubuhay dito sa lugar na to yung mangrove (it will not be pleasant to the eyes and at the same time the mangroves will not survive in the area),” Antiporda said.

Last month, Manila Bay temporarily opened for two days to showcase the artificial “white sand beach” implemented under the DENR’s P389-million Manila Bay rehabilitation program.

The Manila Bay opened to the public from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on September 19 and 20 after the completion of its makeover project that involved pouring piles of crushed dolomite on the stretch of Manila Bay’s shore.

Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, during Manila Bay’s reopening, maintained that the DENR will continue its work on Manila Bay despite the criticism that the artificial white sand beach project received.

“Sadly there are those who are telling or accusing us of not contributing solutions.

Finding fault just wanting to stop [these] beach nourishment activities here at Baywalk for reasons that are critical rather than environmental. We will not allow them to deter or distract us,” he said.

“We have nothing to fear as long as we know that we are doing something good,” he added.

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at [email protected].

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