An official of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) clarified that it is not “white sand” that will be used to fill the 500-meter stretch of the baywalk as part of the Manila Bay rehabilitation.
DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units Concerns Benny Antiporda said the “sand” that was brought to Manila was crushed “dolomite boulders” from Cebu.
“Kasi bawal iyung sand na ibiyahe na galing sa mga coastal natin. (Because sand is not allowed to be transported from our coastal areas),” he said in a video message sent to reporters.
Fisherfolk group Pamalakaya earlier criticized the plan of the DENR to fill a portion of the Manila Bay baywalk with “white sand.”
The group further described the plan as “artificial rehabilitation focusing on aesthetic appearance rather than addressing the environmental degradation problems” of Manila Bay.
“Filling of white sand would less likely contribute to the rehabilitation and restoration of the degrading Manila Bay,” Pamalakaya national chairperson Fernando Hicap said.
However, Antiporda defended the DENR rehabilitation plan and asked the public to take care of the Manila Bay.
“Kailangan kumilos na tayo at magtulong-tulong na tayo. (We need to act and help each other),” he said.
Antiporda said the DENR is slowly bringing down Manila Bay’s coliform level but it is still far from reaching the standard level.
The standard coliform level for coastal waters which is safe for swimming and other similar recreational activities is 100 most probable number per 100 milliliter (mpn/100ml).
When the Manila bay rehabilitation started in 2018, the fecal coliform level in Manila Bay was around 300 million mpn/100ml
The DENR aims to reduce the coliform level in Manila Bay to less than 270 most probable number (MPN) per 100 milliliters (ml) and in all esteros or waterways leading to the bay to 100 mpn/100ml.