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‘Curious case’ of disappearing Manila Bay White Sands: K Brosas, Pia Magalona, Gretchen Ho, netizens react to DENR beach rehab

What happened to the ‘white sand’ at Manila Bay less than a week after it was opened to the public?

It seems the “worst fears” of the critics of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR) have come true.

Photos of the Manila Bay beach rehabilitation project surfaced online showing the white sand turn a dark shade of gray—revealing its previous black color from pollution. Sandbags were also seen at the edge of where the beach meets the sea.

In an interview with Radyo Pilipinas, DENR USec. Benny Antiporda said the dolomite white sand “was not being washed away.”

#UlatBayan | DENR, nilinaw na 'di naagnas at inanod ang dolomite white sand sa Manila Bay; sandbags sa Manila Bay, inilagay bilang palatandaan ng malalim na bahagi

Posted by PTV on Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Antiporda also said the sandbags were placed by contractors to prevent visitors from walking too far and possibly going into the waters of Manila Bay.

“Ito po ay protektado ng mga geotubes at geotextile. Hindi po mae-erode ng madalian iyan. Kung magkaroon man, hindi po ganoon ka-grabe (sic) ang magiging erosion diyan.” Antiporda also asked critics to just wait for the beach rehabilitation to finish before commenting on the project.

Celebrities were up in arms after seeing the photos in news outlets.

Some even called out the beach rehab project, saying it was merely for show.

Others took to songs and jokes to express their dismay.

Blogger Jover Laurio—known online as PinoyAkoBlog—even tagged Manila mayor Isko Moreno.

Earlier, Moreno said the white sand beach—which he dubbed “Manila Bay Sands”, a play on Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands hotel—is expected to help businesses along Roxas Boulevard thanks to the influx of visitors the beach is expected to bring.

Critics of the beach rehabilitation project have said that dumping crushed dolomite on the shores of Manila Bay was a superficial solution to the area’s problems with pollution.

The DENR, however, assured critics that the project is sound and that they would go after the contractor should the crushed dolomite either get washed out or cause damage to marine life—both in the bay and in Cebu, where the dolomite is sourced from.

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