Dolomite beach remains off limits to public until year-end–DENR


The dolomite beach along Roxas Boulevard will remain closed to pave the way for various rehabilitation works in Manila Bay, particularly the controversial P389-million Beach Nourishment Project in the Manila Baywalk area, officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said.

The target is to complete all pending works and activities before reopening the project by the end of the year.

At an online press conference on Wednesday, DENR Undersecretary for Environment and International Affairs Jonas R. Leones said the decision is to keep the dolomite beach closed so as not to impede construction activities under the project’s Phase 2.

To recall, a week after its soft-opening last October 16, people from all over the National Capital Region (NCR) and as far as nearby provinces trooped to the “Boracay-like” white beach. On October 24, the number of visitors went up to an estimated 120,000.

This prompted the DENR to put in place crowd management measures, including a ban on children aged 11 years and below, closure of the dolomite beach on Fridays, and the total closure from October 29 to November 3 in light of the observance of All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day.

According to Leones, all would-be activities that warrant the closure of the dolomite beach is in line with the continuing rehabilitation of Manila Bay, particularly in the area of Roxas Boulevard in Manila, with the hope of improving the water quality there to pass the accepted standard for bathing and swimming.

Under Phase 2, Leones said more crushed dolomite would be shipped to further expand the “white sand beach” from the current 140 meters to 500 meters, completely covering the Manila Baywalk portion from the US Embassy compound to the Manila Yacht Club area.

Moreover, he said, activities are geared to improve the water quality in Manila Bay, starting with the improvement of drainage system and enhancement of sewage treatment plants (STP) to further reduce the fecal coliform level that still runs into thousands to millions in the area.

Speaking mostly in Filipino, Leones said the target is also to fix the drainage system in three outfalls namely Padre Faura, Remedios, and Abad.

“All dirty water from households and industries will be diverted to the STPs. Rainwater, to prevent flooding, will be channeled to pass through the bigger pipe with a length of 400 meters from the sea wall. Also, we will do the outfall near the Dolomite Rock Garden wherein a high fecal coliform level was discovered based on a recent water sampling conducted by the DENR-NCR,” he said.

The target, Leones said, is to complete the project before the end of the year, or in case of change in Covid-19 alert level, by the first quarter of next year.

Geoengineering intervention within the 360-meter area of the dolomite beach will also be undertaken.

Moreover, he said, there will be some developments near the Manila Yacht Club for fishing.

“We will also install lights along Bay Walk to illuminate and highlight the beauty of Baywalk,” he said.

Part of the plan is to construct a solar-powered office for the Manila Bay Task Force and public comfort rooms in the area.

All the activities, he said, will begin this week, hence, the need to close the dolomite beach until the project is completed.

The P389 million original budget for the project is being augmented by the DENR’s outlay from the years 2020 and 2021, he said.

Leones clarified that the project is not a project of the DENR alone but include members of the various agencies tasked to rehabilitate Manila Bay, including the Department of Public Works and Highways and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority.

Soon, he said, informal settlers in Manila Bay particularly in the Baseco area in Tondo will be relocated, hence, requiring the help of the Department of Human Settlement and Urban Development.

The official said all agencies are chipping in to boost the rehabilitation effort in Manila Bay.

DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units Concerns Benny D. Antiporda remains optimistic that Phase 2 of the dolomite beach project will be completed before the end of the year.

He added that even though it will be closed, DENR would continue to monitor the area and make sure that unruly individuals will not trespass the beach unchecked.

The official said proper coordination with concerned authorities would be done to pave the way for the smooth implementation of Phase 2 of the Beach Nourishment Project.

Image courtesy of Roy Domingo

Read full article on BusinessMirror

Leave a Reply