A portion of Manila Bay, long seen as a symbol of urban pollution, is getting a white sand makeover from the government. Environment groups said this would not solve the problem in the capital's bayfront.
Heavy equipment piled white sand on a stretch of Manila Bay this week, photos showed. It follows earlier efforts to rid the area of trash that fouls the air and disturbs the iconic sunset view for motorists and pedestrians.
"Why invest in white sand when you can plant mangrove forests and sea grasses that would restore and balance its marine ecosystem?" said Fernando Hicap, national chairman of the fisherfolk group PAMALAKAYA.
The white sand could easily get washed away in case of a storm surge, said Greenpeace campaigner Ephraim Batungbacal. "Putting materials on top of the uncleaned environment will not help it," he told ABS-CBN's TV Patrol newscast.
The white sand is actually crushed dolomites, a form of sedimentary rock, and was sourced from Cebu, according to the report.
"Kung hindi man makapunta ng Boracay, makapunta ng Bohol, Palawan or Cebu itong ating mga kababayan sa Maynila para makakita ng white sand, ilalapit natin sa kanila ang white sand," said Environment Usec. Benny Antiporda.
(If they can't go to Boracay, Bohol, Palawan or Cebu, our countrymen in Manila can still experience white sand because we are bringing it closer to them.)