“A complete waste of public funds on a worthless project.”
This was how Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza described the “superficial whitening” of a 500-meter stretch of the Manila Bay shoreline along Roxas Boulevard using crushed dolomite rocks from Cebu.
“The white sand being dumped there is just a storm surge away from getting washed out,” said Atienza, a former mayor of Manila and environment secretary.
“No amount of pretentious face-lifting can change the fact that Manila Bay’s marine and coastal ecosystems are practically dead – because its waters have been overwhelmed by fecal coliform,” he said.
A large portion of Metro Manila’s raw human sewage from households continues to drain into the Pasig River and other waterways that all empty out into Manila Bay every day, Atienza pointed out.
“Anybody who swims in the bay’s heavily contaminated waters risks exposure to waterborne pathogenic diseases, including viral and bacterial gastroenteritis, hepatitis A, dysentery, typhoid fever and all sorts of infections,” he warned.
The “white sand project” is being undertaken by the Department of the Interior and Local Government as part of the Operational Plan for the Manila Bay Coastal Management Strategy.
Atienza, however, warned that the strategy is bound to fail due to the negligence of Manila Water Co. Inc. and Maynilad Water Services Inc. in performing their obligations to capture all sewage and provide adequate wastewater treatment facilities in their service areas.