DENR says no link between recent Baseco fish kill and Manila Bay 'white sand' project

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 17) — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) denied that the recent fish kill that occurred in Baseco compound was caused by the Manila Bay “white sand” project.

DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda told a virtual press conference on Thursday that it was impossible that the crushed dolomite dumped over a portion of the bay on Roxas Boulevard caused the death of the fish.

“Erroneous po yung allegation nila kaagad na galing sa nourishment area iyang nagyaring fish kill na iyan,” Antiporda said.

[Translation: Their allegation is erroneous, blaming the nourishment area over the fish kill incident.]

He explained that the Baseco compound and the nourishment area are 5 kilometers away from each other.

Moreover, he noted that wind direction is also from Baseco to Manila Baywalk and that there are also two breakwaters between the two areas.

If the dolomite caused this, dead fish should be found in other areas like the baywalk and not in the Baseco compound, Antiporda said.

Based on a report from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), Baseco residents discovered dead fish of different species like biya, kanduli, asohos, and tilapia at 5 a.m. on Sept. 15.

There are residents associating the fish kill to the dumping of dolomite at Manila Baywalk. This project of the DENR caused health concerns due to possible risks it may cause after being exposed to the product.

Antiporda said the DENR is considering several causes like low dissolved oxygen level and the presence of cyanide due to illegal fishing. He said the result of the water quality test will be released tomorrow.

Initial investigation of BFAR revealed that dissolved oxygen in the Baseco area was at 0.11 milligram/liter from the standard 5 mg/L.

He noted that the same incident occurred last year in Las Pinas-Paranaque Critical Habitat and Eco-Tourism Area on Oct. 10, wherein dissolved oxygen level dropped to 0.02 mg/L from 6 mg/L.

However, Antiporda said the DENR is not discounting the possibility that this was done intentionally to discredit the government. He also questioned the website that posted the situation in Baseco, out scooping other media outfits.

“Hopefully hindi ito sinadya kasi bakit mo iko-connect sa dolomite when ang layo nyan kung di mo sinadya,” he said.

[Translation: Hopefully this is not intentional because why would you connect this to dolomite when they are far from each other if you did not do this intentionally.]