DENR: Measures in place so Manila Bay's white sand won't get washed away

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The government has planned interventions to ensure that the white sand overlaid on part of Manila Bay's shoreline will not get washed away, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources said Tuesday. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 15) — The government has planned interventions to ensure that the white sand overlaid on part of Manila Bay's shoreline will not get washed away, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources said Tuesday.

The DENR assured that public funds will not be wasted amid concerns that the sand will eventually be swept away by storms and high tide to the bottom of the bay.

"The DENR also reassures the public that the funds used for the project will not be put to waste as engineering interventions are being made to prevent the artificial white sand from being washed away," said the agency in a statement.

Environment Undersecretary Benny Antiporda explained in a phone call to CNN Philippines that there is already a hidden "geotube" surrounding the beach area that serves as a barrier between the land and the sea. He added that erosion of the white sand is still expected but "it will not be that big."

The DENR also maintained that the white sand does not pose health risks since it cannot be suspended in the air or inhaled given that it is 100 times bigger than dust. The department also reiterated the Department of Health's statement assuring that no "untoward incident" will result from the white sand project.

Environment advocates have repeatedly slammed the project as merely "aesthetic", a criticism the agency dismisses as "misleading."

"These blind critics have been propagating lies and baseless accusations against the DENR and government in general in all forums, including social media, to advance their selfish interests," the DENR statement added.

It maintained that the white sand in the project has been used for years due to dolomite's capacity to filter water. The entire "beach nourishment" project of Manila Bay spans 120 meters across the shoreline and 60 meters towards the bay. Its cost is pegged by the DENR at P389 million, with P28 million used in the extraction and transportation of dolomite from Cebu province.