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ON WHITE SAND PROJECT: Put your money where your mouth is

SO much controversy was stirred up by the white beach project of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources at the Manila Bay area on Roxas Boulevard.

As usual, government critics are quick to jump on the issue, raising alleged negative impact on the environment and public health and even demanding a stop to the said project.

Also as usual, many have become ‘instant experts’ on white sand and ‘dolomites.’

According to DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda, no less than the Department of Health clarified that dolomite, in its bulk state, is not a known health hazard.

Still citing the DOH, Usec Benny explained further that 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. As stated by the DENR, the dolomite material that is being used in the white beach Manila Bay project is 2-5mm or 100 times bigger than dust and therefore does not get suspended in air.

Moreover, he said, occupational health and safety standards for workers and precautionary measures for the containment of possible dust formation and are being implemented.

Therefore, in terms of the general safety of the public who will be enjoying the shoreline once permitted, DOH assures that no untoward incidents will occur as a result of this endeavour.

Usec Benny points out that the Manila Bay beach nourishment project was funded way before the pandemic began and not during, adding that the project was bidded out as far back as last year and that it was merely stalled because of the ECQ.

On the pandemic issue, he said the DENR has given P1,069,000,000 to the Department of Budget Management in response to the order of President Rodrigo Duterte and another P66 million was also taken from the DENR funds to help in the fight against COVID-19.

By the way, it is clear that the fear being unnecessarily raised by instant experts on the issue of dolomite is quelled by the fact that dolomite stones are being used by different luxury hotels in Cebu City like the Plantation Bay, Sheraton and Hilton hotels. Dolomite per se is no health hazard, as Usec Benny points out. He said that only dolomite dust has accompanying health hazards, its dust coming out once it is mined and in the process of crushing.

The dolomite stones at the Manila Bay, he said, is 5 mm in size which is 100 times bigger than the dust particle, so that it is unlikely that the public will inhale or swallow it.

The DENR is not stupid to implement a gargantuan project like having a white sand beach along Roxas Boulevard without the benefit of a full and thorough research, specially on the impact on public health.

Usec Benny has a nice ending to his explanations. He is calling on the project’s critics to produce anyone who had become afflicted or died due to dolomite, which, he said, is being used in countless beaches and resorts here and abroad.

Indeed, presenting a concrete basis on negative allegations is needed for those behind the project to even consider if indeed, there is a need to act on the complaints or put a stop to the project.

Now if the critics have nothing but allegations anchored on words like ‘ it might,’ ‘it could,’ ‘it will probably,’ then what we have is nothing but imagined scenarios. Better put your money where your mouth is.

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Publication Source :    People's Tonight