The first phase of the artificial white beach along Manila Bay is now 80 percent complete, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Undersecretary Benny Antiporda said.
Antiporda, chief of the Manila Bay Anti-Pollution Task Force (MBAPTF), also noted that the current phase could get finished as early as next month.
“As part of the Manila Bay Rehabilitation Program under the Duterte administration, the first phase of our beach nourishment is about 80 percent complete, and hopefully, it will be completed by July,” he said in a Facebook post.
The DENR in the past has used the term “beach nourishment” to refer to its dumping of crushed dolomite rocks along the beach in Manila Bay. The crushed dolomite, which approximates white sand, gives the artifical beach its striking appearance.
“We have significantly reduced the fecal coliform level in the waters near the US [United States] Embassy, but our work continues as we strive to reach its standard level that would be safe for swimming, skin-diving, and other forms of contact recreation,” added the Antiporda.
It was on Feb.18 when DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu bared that the fecal coliform level in the waters near the beach nourishment project dropped from 2.2 million most probable number per 100 milliliters (mpn/100ml) last Jan. 4 to just 523,000 mpn/100 ml on Feb. 8. This was based on the average count from three monitoring stations.
The continued dumping of dolomite–which costs millions–had been described as “insensitive” by administration critics given that the project was initiated in 2020, the year the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic struck.
The Manila Bay Rehabilitation Progam has a total budget of P389 million. DENR officials have said that the funds were allocated back in 2019, or the year before the emergence of the pandemic.
They’ve also clarified that the dolomite beach was just one of the many facets of the rehabilitation effort.