Cimatu defends Manila Bay white sand project, says dolomite is safe

Marje Pelayo   •   September 9, 2020   •   953

MANILA, Philippines — Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu defended the white sand beach project in Manila Bay saying the use of dolomite generally poses no health risk. 

The official acknowledged, however, that what’s hazardous is the fine silica dust that is generated during the crushing of dolomite boulders.

“Ang nakalagay po sa research, kung kina-crush ang dolomite during mining, doon sa source area, kung wala kang mga proteksyon sa [ilong] ay harmful po iyan dahil nandyan po ang small dust particles na silica na kasama sa elements ng dolomite,” Cimatu noted.

(According to research, not wearing protection for your nose when dolomite is being crushed during mining at the source area is harmful because of small dust particles or silica dust which is part of the elements of dolomite.)

Cimatu assured that the size of the dolomite being used in Manila Bay is 100 times bigger than dust.

Dolomite, which has a striking white white color, has also been used in other beach projects in the Visayas since 1996.

Cimatu explained that dolomite helps clean the water and converts it into alkaline which is why it is also being used in aquariums.

“Kailangan rin natin ng medyo mineral na linisin ang tubig kasi nourishment ang kailangan nito. So naghanap kami, pwede ito na gamitin ang dolomite,” he said.

(We also need some mineral to clean the water because it needs nourishment. Upon searching we decided on using dolomite.)

“Tingnan po ninyo sa mga aquarium na bumibili ng aquarium na may mga isda dyan, bato-bato iyan, mga sand. Ang dolomite lilinisin niya ang tubig from acidic magiging alkaline,” he added. 

(Just look at those who buy aquariums, they put fish, pebbles and sand. Dolomite cleans the water and turns it from acidic to alkaline.)

Cimatu also assured that an appropriate technology is being used to keep the sand from being washed away in case of big waves.

Another purpose, Cimatu said, is to prevent further accidents among park goers.

“Pagdaong mo tuloy tubig na kaya ang daming nadidisgrasya katulad nang sinabi kong nalunod. So naglagay po tayo ng parang beach,” the official said.

(When you dock, its straight to the water, hence a lot of people get into accidents and even drown. So, we added a beach.)

According to Cimatu, the DENR has already spent P28 million for the purchase of dolomite from the total budget of P389 million for the Manila Bay beach nourishment project.

The said fund was given by President Rodrigo Duterte from his office’s discretionary fund in 2019 and not part of the DENR’s budget.

In response to critics saying the fund should have been better used for COVID-19 programs, Cimatu said the agency has already shelled out 10% of DENR’s budget similar to other agency’s initiatives to help in the country’s health system.

The DENR clarified that the white sand project does not cover the entire shoreline of Roxas Boulevard but only the part that is near the US Embassy and the Manila Yacht Club. 

Cimatu said the DENR is ready to explain further should the matter be pursued in court. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Duterte commends Cimatu for Manila Bay white sand project

Marje Pelayo   •   September 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — In his public address Monday evening (September 21), President Rodrigo Duterte lauded the efforts of Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu in the full rehabilitation of Manila Bay. 

The President expressed his high confidence in Cimatu despite criticisms on the use of crushed dolomite boulders to cover the coastline of Manila Bay and the timing of the project amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I think everybody was there when I said, ‘Roy, kaya mong linisin ‘to (can you clean this up)?’ And his answer was a very curtly given, ‘Kaya kong trabahuhin (I can work on it),'” the President recalled quoting Cimatu.

The President also noted that it is common for the opposition to criticize the government in all of its undertakings and specifically, the President himself.

Wala naman talaga tayong magawa (We really cannot do anything). You do it, may masabi sila (they have something to say). You do not do it, may masabi si Leni (Leni has something to say about it too),” he added, referring to Vice President Leni Robredo who is the leader of the opposition.

“They are trying to delude people.  They are trying to picture that there’s a failure of government. We have done our best,” Duterte stressed. 

He also said the opposition should not be adding to the already heavy burden of the country brought by the pandemic.

Robredo has questioned on multiple occasions, the government’s COVID-19 response and criticized its seeming lack of direction.

Alam mo Leni kung gusto mo (You know Leni, if you want), if you really want to do away with the COVID, i-sprayhan natin itong Pilipinas o Manila ng pesticide galing sa eroplano para patay lahat (let’s spray the whole Philippines or Manila with pesticide from a plane to kill them all) […] Do not add something to the pandemic by making such reckless statements na (that) we are not doing enough,” Duterte said addressing Robredo. MNP (wirh reports from Rosalie Coz)

LIST: Rerouting scheme at Roxas Blvd. on Sept. 19 in line with the Int’l Coastal Clean-up in Manila Bay Walk

Marje Pelayo   •   September 18, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The city government of Manila announced a rerouting of vehicular traffic in selected areas for Sunday (September 19).

This is to give way to the staging of the ‘International Coastal Clean-up at Manila Bay Walk’ that will start at 5:00 a.m.

Motorists, especially those who regularly take Roxas Boulevard, to follow the rerouting guidelines to avoid heavy traffic in affected areas.

Meanwhile, participants in the event are also advised to park at the Roxas Boulevard Southbound lane near the activity area or at the Roxas Boulevard Service Road parking area. 

No photo description available.

DENR denies dolomite caused fish kill in Manila Bay

Marje Pelayo   •   September 18, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – A video taken by Regine Nequia, president of Baseco Seaside Neighborhood Association (BASA), showed dead fish floating in Manila Bay near the Baseco Compound on Thursday (September 17) morning.

She said that a similar incident have happened in the past, but the amount of dead fish has not been as large.

Residents are asking authorities to look into the matter not only because their livelihoods depend on the bay, but also because of the stench coming from the rotting fish.

“Ang mga nawalan ng trabaho dyan kumukuha ng pangaraw-araw ding ulam, [Residents who lost their jobs get their daily meal from the fish there],” Nequia said.

“Iyog mga mangingisda naman sa ngayon ay sadyang nababahala kasi dyan nila kinukuha yung kanilang pangkabuhayan, [Fishermen, meanwhile, expressed concern over the incident as they depend (on the bay) for their income],” she added.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has refuted claims that the dolomite or artificial white sand being dumped along Roxas Boulevard was the cause of the fish kill in the bay.

According to Environment Undersecretary Benny Antiporda, the Baseco area is way far from Roxas Boulevard and the two sections are divided by a breakwater.

He also noted that it seems impossible that the fish kill happened only in Baseco area but not in the Roxas Boulevard area where the dolomite dumping is located.

“It’s impossible na iyong fish kill nandoon lang sa lugar nila pero ang nourishment nandito sa kabila. Also, there is a big divider which is the breakwater so it is really impossible na dito sa atin nanggaling iyon,” Antiporda said.

The official cited similar incidents of fish kill that occurred in October last year which happened in the portions of Las Piñas and Parañaque but that was caused by the lowering of oxygen level in the water.

Nonetheless, Antiporda is not discounting the possibility of a sabotage or someone putting poison in that part of the bay to discredit the ongoing beach nourishment project.

“Mas gusto natin tingnan iyong positive side rather than may nanabotahe but hindi din namin dini-discount iyan at tinitingnan naming mabuti kung meron pa rin bang cyanide fishing,” he said.

The agency has taken water samples from Baseco area and from the site of the white beach project to help in the investigation. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)


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