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Manila Bay’s new, pristine ‘white sand’ can do some serious ecological damage

Manila Bay’s new, pristine ‘white sand’ can do some serious ecological damage


If you live in Metro Manila, the closest beach is at least a two-hour drive. Since it’s quarantine, it’s even more difficult to escape for some sea and sun, but the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has some interesting ideas on bringing the beach closer to city dwellers. 

According to DENR undersecretary Benny Antiporda, “Gagawin white sand itong, dito sa may baywalk area para makita ng tao na kapag puti ang kulay ng isang bagay, kailangan pangalagaan mo ito at wag mo dumihan.” As part of their efforts to revitalize Manila Bay and its surroundings, truckloads of pulverized dolomite rocks—a sedimentary mineral composed of calcium magnesium carbonate—have been imported from Cebu to cover up the existing greyish shore. But does it make it any safer?

Although this may sound like a good idea (in theory), this actually spells out bad news for the environment. In an article published by the Journal of African Earth Sciences, dolomite mining has been known to cause environmental and health safety hazards to surrounding communities. This probably means it doesn’t make dolomite any safer.

Local environmental organizations also expressed their concern on this project and the effects it may have on our local ecosystem. In a press release published by environmental conservation organization Kalikasan, they demanded an explanation from Manila City mayor Isko Domagoso on why this even happened in the first place. 

They also warned of the dangers that improper sand dumping can pose on Manila Bay’s existing infrastructure and the damage it can pose to Manila Bay’s adjoining marine ecosystems. 

Another issue that this plan doesn’t solve is Manila Bay’s pollution. According to Pamalakaya (National Federation of Small Fisherfolk Organizations in the Philippines) national chairperson Fernando Hikap, “The DENR doesn’t have any concrete plan to restore the bay that it resorts to focus on external beautification which is actually a sham and artificial, instead of a genuine rehabilitation.”

“No amount of white sand and external beauty can restore Manila Bay if such destructive projects are going through. Worse, DENR has approved destructive reclamation projects where mangrove forest was cut down and local crab production is now threatened,” Hikap concluded.

We’re all for the rehabilitation and betterment of Manila Bay, but maybe it’s best to consult the experts first. 


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ART LEVENSPEIL SANGALANG © 2020. Hinge Inquirer Publications, Inc.


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