DENR denies dolomite caused fish kill in Manila Bay
Marje Pelayo • September 18, 2020 • 212
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)
MANILA, Philippines — Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu conducted a surprise inspection of the Manila Bay Beach Nourishment site on Wednesday (October 14).
Accompanied by Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta, Cimatu visited the site following reports that the artificial white sand in the area has been washed away after days of continuous rain.
Peralta himself requested for the visit as part of their mandate of ensuring that the said government project is properly progressing.
The DENR Chief stressed there was no washing off of the dolomite white sand in Manila Bay, contrary to reports circulating on social media.
The agency explained that the natural blank sand deposit in the area covered the white sand by one to three feet thick resulting in the sand turning black.
“Nakita po na puro kasinungalingan iyong lumabas na na-wash out po ang white sand natin (Reports that the white sand has been washed out are all lies),” DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda said.
“Ang nangyari talaga is wash in. Ang nangyari po is pumasok iyong itim na buhangin at pumatong sa white dolomite (What really happened was a “wash in”. The black sand washed ashore and covered the white dolomite),” he added.
MANILA, Philippines — Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) and Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) released on Thursday (October 1) the results of the analyses conducted on the dolomite sand samples from the Manila Bay Beach Nourishment Project.
The test was to determine whether they contain heavy metals that are harmful to health and marine life.
The analysis conducted include determination of Iron, Nickel, Lead, and Mercury; grain size; X-Ray diffraction; and pH and specific metals analysis using the Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure.
The results of the analysis were compared to the limits set in DENR Administrative Order No. 2013-22, or the Revised Procedures and Standards for the Management of Hazardous Wastes.
“Basing from the results of the TCLP, none of the values obtained from the sample leachate exceeded the limits stated in the cited DENR AO, and hence the sample is not classified as hazardous,” said EMB OIC-Director Engr. William Cuñado.
“It does not contain mobile forms of the mentioned metal constituents that may leach into the environment under conditions similar to that in a landfill,” he added,
The official added that the pH value is also less than the set limit for pH in the provisions of the same Administrative Order to be classified as hazardous.
Erratum: An earlier version of the article incorrectly stated that water samples from Manila Bay had been tested and were found not hazardous.
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)
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