Residents of the seaside village of Baseco in Manila alerted the public to dead fishes that apparently floated in Manila Bay this morning, sparking new fears over the safety of the crushed dolomite that was dumped on the area’s shoreline to “rehabilitate” it.
Non-profit group Urban Poor Associates posted a half-minute video of the notoriously murky waters near Baseco’s sea wall carrying fish kill.
Baseco Seaside Neighborhood Association President Regine Nequia, who took the video, said she was surprised at the sight as this was the first time they saw this many dead fish near Baseco’s sea wall. Nequia said the community “worries that this might be the effect of the dolomite ‘white sand'” dumped on the bay and appealed to environmental groups and government agencies to look into the incident.
Princess Esponilla, Urban Poor Associates’ media advocacy officer, told Coconuts Manila over chat that while fishermen have spotted fish kill in the Bay in the past due to pollution and being tided over by the northeast monsoon or amihan, this is the first time that they’ve seen this many in this area of the sea wall. Esponilla could not give a rough estimate of the floating fish kill but said the video was taken at around 10am today.
“We want the government to investigate because around 10% of Baseco’s 22,000 families rely on paninisid or fishing to get by,” Esponilla said.
Regine Nequia, president of Baseco Seaside Neighborhood Association (BASA) was surprised to see dead fish floating on…
She rejected dolomite dumping in Manila Bay not just for environmental reasons, but also because it poses the looming eviction of some 230,000 informal settlers’ families residing along the Bay’s waterways.
Esponilla added that in the past, fellow non-profit Kabalikat sa Kaunlaran ng Baseco (“Consort in the Development of Baseco”) have resorted to more natural means of rehabilitating the Bay, such as planting 1,000 mangrove trees in Aplaya, Baseco in 2010. The mangroves remain standing and sturdy in the area to this day, contributing to the natural rehab of its shores. They were planted several kilometers away from the dolomite dumping site as seen in the illustrated map below.
Earlier, the Department of Health warned against the possible respiratory risks of the synthetic “white sand” which they said might cause irritation and discomfort when ingested. Days later, the agency backtracked saying the crushed industrial rock is “not a known health hazard,” citing data touted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, which is spearheading the multi-million-peso project.
Many environmental groups meanwhile have expressed concern that the aesthetic facelift is threatening marine life.
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