Storms, high tide may wash away Manila Bay white sand: scientist

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 04 2020 01:28 PM | Updated as of Sep 04 2020 01:34 PM

Senior Environmental Management Specialist Carolyn Silvestre, collects a water sample from the shores of Manila Bay along Roxas Boulevard in Manila on Sept. 3, 2020. The water sample will be tested for water improvement quality as this stretch of Manila Bay is up for rehabilitation to make it fit for swimming. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA -- Storms and the high tide could wash away the artificial white sand that the government dumped around Manila Bay, a scientist said Friday.

Sand is “always transported from one place to the other” along beaches because “there’s a lot of energy that makes the materials move,” said University of the Philippines Resilience Institute executive director Mahar Lagmay.

“If you put white sand in that place, chances are during storms and during high tide, when the waves are high… all of the sand will be washed out and transported,” he told ANC.

“It’s really going to be expensive if you want to continuously replenish the white sand there… That’s not sustainable,” he added.

Sand around Manila Bay comes from surrounding mountains and is naturally dark gray, said the scientist.

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NO WASTE OF PUBLIC FUNDS?

Authorities dumped synthetic white sand so the beach could be similar to those in tourist hotspots Boracay, Bohol, Palawan, and Cebu, said Environment Undersecretary Benny Antiporda.

Engineers used a “geo textile” to prevent the sand from being washed away and authorities were also considering putting up a breakwater to further protect it, Antiporda said in a separate ANC interview.

Muck and garbage were also removed from the area before authorities started placing the sand there, he said.

“I don’t think na pababayaan nitong experts natin na mangyari iyong mga ganiyang bagay na magsasayang lang ng pera ng ating bayan,” said the official.

(I don’t think our experts will allow for things to happen where public funds will be wasted.)

The sand, he said, came from crushed dolomite boulders from Cebu.

Dolomite contains calcium carbonate, which can also be found in sea corals and is not harmful to the environment, he said.