We were surprised to find out through a Youtube video dated August 31 that there is an ongoing white sand dumping along the Baywalk in Manila Bay. With no clear environmental impact assessments and public consultations associated with this project, this land reclamation activity endangers marine wildlife and affects the coastline communities situated around and nearby the area.
We urge Manila Mayor Isko Moreno and other government agencies mandated to rehabilitate Manila Bay to immediately halt this dump-and-fill reclamation activity. This should be investigated if it underwent proper impact assessment and social acceptability procedures.
Improper sand dumping at the Baywalk can result into its topping over into Manila’s built infrastructure because the area is prone to coastal flooding. It can also result into siltation and degradation of the adjoining marine conservation areas.
May we remind Mayor Moreno that Manila Bay is not dead. In fact, the Sardinella Pacifica, a new sardine species only available in the Philippines, was discovered in the waters of Manila Bay just last year. The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources itself said Manila’s waters are potential sardine conservation areas.
To recall, ‘Yorme’ promised during his candidacy that he will oppose reclamation projects and instead prioritize urban renewal during his term.
We also remind President Rodrigo Duterte himself that he repeatedly promised not to allow any proposed reclamation projects in Manila Bay, citing the concerns over the guaranteed protection of the environment and public health.
We should heed the living lessons from the still raging COVID-19 pandemic, which emerged from the spillover of the virus from wildlife into human populations, if we are to ensure food security, public health, and disaster risk reduction caused by the further loss of our fragile ecosystems.###
Reference: Leon Dulce, National Coordinator, Kalikasan PNE