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Agham: Use dolomite funds for Covid19

Republika

Experts from the Agham – Advocates of Science and Technology for the People, have released a statement calling on the government to realign the funds used for dumping dolomite sand along Manila Bay’s shoreline, for fighting the Covid19 pandemic instead.


Another layer of crushed dolomite rocks was layered over Manila Bay’s shoreline earlier this month, prompting the statement.


The group, composed of scientists and engineers, said that the so-called beach nourishment and beautification project should cease while the environmental impact on the bay and its ecosystem, is studied.


However, according to Agham, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) continues to ignore recommendations to stop and review the dumping, citing a lack of “scientific integrity”.


Agham has expressed willingness to participate in a rehabilitation plan for Manila Bay that would genuinely benefit the area, to which the DENR has not responded.


Adding to their statement, Agham also pointed out that DENR policy is to implement the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) system, which the agency has not produced for the white sand project.


“In absence of an EIS, the DENR should just re-channel funds for Covid19 assistance to the most heavily affected by the pandemic” they said.


The first dumping of the dolomite artificial white sand occurred in September last year.


DENR drew criticism for the P389 million project over its total cost, and reasoning.


It was also revealed that of the budget, only P28 million was spent for the sand, prompting calls for transparency.


The material itself, also known as calcium magnesium carbonate, is known to cause health risks to a person’s lungs when inhaled, which the Department of Health (DOH) confirmed.


Furthermore, environmental group Oceana Philippines underscored the risk to the Manila Bay ecosystem because dolomite is not a naturally occurring substance there.


The statement was issued as the country recently broke the one million barrier of total Covid19 cases.

Photo: Daily Tribune


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