(Photo courtesy of DENR) 

MANILA – Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu on Monday assured the dolomite-laced beach along Manila Bay's Baywalk area remains intact despite high tide and piles of trash at the height of the southwest monsoon or "habagat".

"The dolomite sand has not been washed out and the dolomite pebbles were only pushed to the perimeter of the beach area," Cimatu said in a statement, citing results of DENR's latest assessment.

Geotubes and geotextiles installed in the area are not damaged, he added.

Cimatu ordered DENR Region 4-A Regional Executive Dir. Nilo Tamoria to inventory all fish pens, fish cages and baklad/sapra installations in Cavite province and identify which of these have permits to operate, noting many bamboo poles washed ashore during "habagat" and accumulated in the dolomite beach.

He said legitimate operators must repair respective damaged fish pens and cages.

"On the other hand, those with no permits will be immediately demolished," he said.

Bamboo poles are commonly used in making fish pens and cages.

DENR has been drawing criticism for the dolomite beach as some people said money for this project could have been used instead in efforts to address the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

It said the project is among activities for Manila Bay's rehabilitation which aims to make this water body fit again for contact recreation as Supreme Court ordered in 2008.

Cimatu noted as "habagat" surged, high tide rose from the normal 1.3 meters to between 1.5 meters and 1.6 meters.

"As a result, a huge amount of trash was swept by the waves which accumulated in the area," he said.

He called on the public to dispose trash properly, noting plastic cups, wrappers and styrofoam from Cavite and Manila Bay's tributaries also washed ashore and ended up in the dolomite beach.

"We at DENR believe that behavioral change is the key and ultimate solution to address the issue of solid waste management in the country," he said.

Cimatu thanked all volunteers as well as river and "estero" rangers who are helping rehabilitate Manila Bay by cleaning the Baywalk area and Baseco Beach.

Manila Bay borders the western Luzon-lying portions of Regions 4-A and 3, as well as Metro Manila. (PNA)