November 29, 2020
Asia

Polluted stretch of Manila Bay gets fake white sand makeover

MANILA: Residents of the Philippines' capital on Saturday (Sep 19) flocked to an artificial white sand beach that the government has transformed from a polluted stretch of shoreline to mark International Coastal Cleanup day.

Despite opposition from environmental campaigners, President Rodrigo Duterte's government has filled a 500m stretch of coastline beside the US embassy in Manila with sand made from tonnes of crushed dolomite boulders from central Philippines.

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Government workers and volunteers pick up trash along the Manila Bay shore, during the International Coastal Cleanup Day, in Manila, on Sep 19, 2020. (Photo: REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez)

Manila Bay is a 60km semi-enclosed estuary facing the South China Sea. Its waters are heavily polluted by oil, grease and trash from nearby residential areas and ports.

The use of artificial sand has been met with criticism, with environmental groups saying the facelift focuses only on aesthetics and has little to do with rehabilitation.

Fernando Hicap, president of fisherfolk group Pamalakaya, told Reuters that the pollution was killing fish stocks in the bay. "There is still so much garbage," he said.

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Boys pick up trash along the polluted Baseco coastline of Manila Bay, on International Coastal Cleanup Day, in Manila, on SepRead More – Source

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