It has been a year since the shores of Manila Bay have been dumped with 389 million pesos worth of crushed dolomite to pass off as white sand — a beautification project by the DENR that has raised eyebrows among marine conservationists, scientists, and anyone else who dares to question why the government would spend an equivalent of $8 million for fake sand in the time of a pandemic.
And while the public’s indignation towards the Manila Bay dolomite beach brouhaha has been refueled by the “MANILABAYWALKDOLOMITEBEACH” issue, these photos demonstrate why the present problem goes beyond a 500-meter stretch of sand and an absurd entrance sign.
Photos by Diuvs de Jesus, a marine biologist and member of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines, showcase the Navotas mudflats and mangroves in a dire and polluted state. The Navotas mudflats make up part of the Manila Bay coast.
Like the rest of Manila Bay, the Navotas mudflats is a sanctuary for thousands of migratory birds, with about 90 species seeking shelter here during migratory season.
Diuvs wrote on Facebook, “Spending millions for the dolomite beach in the disguise of ‘cleanup’ when other parts of Manila Bay’s mangroves and mudflats are threatened by plastic pollution and reclamation? “Development” in exchange of destroying our ecosystems?
These mudflats of Navotas are almost filled now with filling materials for reclamation. This haven for migratory birds will soon be buildings.”
Calls to rehabilitate the Navotas bird haven have been made for years. These recent photos prove that even after spending 389 million pesos, nothing has really changed.