‘White sand’ project in Manila Bay will push through — DENR

Marje Pelayo   •   September 4, 2020   •   770

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is determined to push through with its white sand project along the shores of Manila Bay in Roxas Boulevard.

This is despite mounting criticisms and concerns from the public about the potential hazards the project might cause in the future.

But according to DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda, the project is nothing new because the same method is also being done in other beaches across the country. 

Contrary to what critics have been saying, Antiporda stressed that the process will not be harmful to the bay’s ecosystem.

“Do they know the content of a dolomite boulder? A dolomite boulder contains calcium carbonate. And even the corals in the seas are calcium carbonate. So it is not foreign to the ecosystem if that’s what you put there,” Antiporda said. 

The group Oceana Philippines has expressed opposition to the project, saying that this kind of project needs to go thorough environmental impact study.

According to Oceana vice president, Gloria Ramos, this would not only damage the shores of Manila Bay but the source of the white sand as well.

“This will be a total waste of people’s money. Panahon na ng mga bagyo at malakas ang hampas ng alon sa Manila Bay kapag may bagyo (It’s cyclone season and there would be big waves in Manila Bay during this season),” Ramos said.

“The sand will be simply washed away by the waves and will mix with the black sand which is the natural element of this part of Manila Bay,” she added.

Another advocate group, Pamalakaya, noted that the rehabilitation of Manila Bay has yielded positive results because marine life is gradually coming back. However, covering the bay with sand could once again damage the sea grass and corals.

“Malinaw naman sa paga-aral ang isa sa dahilan dyan kung bakit nasira iyong Manila Bay ay dahil sa reclamation (It is very clear from studies that reclamation activities ruined Manila Bay),” Pamalakaya national president Fernando Hicap said. “Pangalawa ay ang basura (Another cause of ruin was trash),” he added.

According to DENR, the agency will utilize modern technology in placing the white sand in Manila Bay. 

“We conducted the engineering interventions wherein nilagyan ng mga geotube yan para maproteksyunan ang buhangin, (we placed geotube to protect the white sand),” Antiporda said.

The agency is aiming at reducing the level of pollution in Manila Bay to 200 most probable number (MPN). 

Antiporda cited that the pollution level in Manila Bay has gone down to 700 MPN since a treatment facility was built along the bay.

DENR said government officials are set to inspect the area on September 19. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Dolomite not washed out; black sand ‘washed in’ — DENR

Marje Pelayo   •   October 15, 2020

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.

In September, President Rodrigo Duterte himself lauded the efforts of Cimatu in the full rehabilitation of Manila Bay. 

He expressed high confidence in Cimatu despite criticisms on the use of crushed dolomite boulders to cover the coastline of Manila Bay. MNP (with reports from Joan Nano)

Dolomite sand in Manila Bay not hazardous — DENR

Marje Pelayo   •   October 2, 2020

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.

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)

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