The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is planning to reopen the Manila Bay “white sand beach” to the public starting next month, according to DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda.

The DENR is “fast-tracking” the clean-up and the beautification of the Manila Bay white sand beach, which is made up of crushed dolomite that was sourced and delivered from Cebu province. The project aimed to cover the original black sand of the famous shoreline under the DENR’s 2019  Manila Bay Rehabilitation program to decrease the pollution. 

“The DENR is fast-tracking everything. Personal na pinangangasiwaan ng ating Kalihim Roy Cimatu. Based on the information na natanggap ng inyong lingkod, minamadali ‘yan na maari na hanggang July na ma-open na ‘yan or matapos na ‘yang proyekto na ‘yan,” he said during a virtual briefing.

“Rest assured na ang taumbayan ay may makikitang malaking pagbabago at pag ganda ng Manila Bay,” he added.

Last year, the rehabilitation project earned jeers from the public criticizing it as a “completely absurd and highfalutin rehabilitation” effort. Some marine experts also said that the artificial sand won’t survive the storm surges or rising tides.

The DENR’s 2019 Manila Bay Rehabilitation program costs around P389 million, P28 million of the budget was allocated for the dolomite project of the shoreline. 

The national government rationalized the move, with the environment department insisting that the white sand makeover will discourage people from throwing garbage in the area.  

Malacañang also defended the project, saying the dolomite project will boost the mental health of Filipinos during the Covid-19 pandemic. Ronald Espartinez