The controversial dumping of crushed dolomite in Manila Bay is expected to end by the middle of the year, Environment Undersecretary Jonas Leones said Thursday.
The piling of dolomite sand in Manila Bay is 60 to 70 percent complete, possibly in June or July, said Leones who inspected the area this Thursday morning.
Leones also explained that the installation of the artificial dolomite sand beach is only part of the beach nourishment project of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Manila Bay, which is now 50 to 60 percent complete.
According to Leones, of the P389 million fund for the beach nourishment project, P23 million to P28 million was used for piling the dolomite.
“Contracted na kasi rin ‘yan eh so may mga liabilities din ang bawat parties kung ‘di makakapag-comply,” said Leones.
Leones had earlier said that the funds for the “dolomite beach” project will be allocated in 2019 so it cannot be stopped.
The beach nourishment project also includes water purification in Manila Bay.
Dumping of dolomite sand expected to be completed by mid-year: DENR
According to Leones, the fecal coliform water level in Manila Bay is now only 100,000 most probable number (mpn) per 100 milligrams compared to the previous million MPN per 100 milligrams.
Despite this, he said it is still not safe to bathe in Manila Bay.
According to Leones, it is also not right to allocate all DENR funds to COVID-19, especially since the agency has already provided 10 percent of its 2020 budget for responding to the pandemic.
He also said that the dolomite sand beach project that was started was continued because the layer of dolomite that was laid in 2020 was still thin so there were black sands then.
It is said that the minimum thickness of dolomite of one meter must be met.
Meanwhile, some groups have criticized the government’s continued dumping of crushed dolomite in parts of Manila Bay at the height of the COVID-19 cases in the country.
The Oceana Philippines group questioned why the said “dolomite beach” was added even though the first mound in the area was damaged last year.