A fresh pile of dolomite sand was piled on Manila Bay’s controversial White Beach project on Wednesday, despite the coronavirus pandemic gripping the country.
Several backhoe operators were seen at work in the area, pouring and levelling crushed dolomite rocks. Trucks dumped large amounts of the pulverized rocks to replace the sands washed away from areas underneath and fill the 500-meter stretch of the baywalk.
About 500 tons of crushed dolomite rocks were placed last year by the government to spruce up the baywalk, which was opened to the public in September 2020.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) earlier said the P389-million project will discourage people from littering.
The health department has declared that the rocks are not a health hazard.
“Dolomite in its bulk state is not a known health hazard and dolomite in dust form, like any other dust particle, can lead to symptoms such as chest discomfort, shortness of breath, and coughing for this is our body’s normal reaction to irritants,” the Department of Health said in a statement.
The white sand beach is part of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Manila Bay Rehabilitation Program that started in January 2017.
The project has been criticized by environmentalists and fisherfolk, saying that the project is not the answer to pollution control in the area.
Citing information from the DENR, Greenpeace Southeast Asia campaigner Sonny Batungbacal said that only 15 percent (2.4 million out of 16.3 million) of the water-served population in Metro Manila are connected to a sewerage system.
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