The Manila Baywalk Dolomite Beach, as it is officially called, has attracted a lot of attention since it was created, and many Filipinos have definitely taken advantage of the nearby 500M-worth man-made attraction. Just look at the first few weeks after it was opened and the most recent crowd of thousands of visitors from last month. What if the government says you’d be able to swim at the dolomite beach? Will you visit and go for a swim?
The dolomite beach
ICMYI: Children age 12 and below will not be allowed entry to the Manila Baywalk Dolomite Beach starting today, Oct. 26, with respect to the guidelines of IATF.
— ＤＥＮＲ (@DENROfficial) October 25, 2021
If you’ve been living under a rock this past year, the dolomite beach is a project of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) as part of the Manila Bay Rehabilitation Program. It is an artificial beach made of layers of ordinary sand mixed with crushed dolomite. The project has received much criticism from citizens, activists, environmentalists, and heritage conservationist groups, especially as the project began being implemented during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
DENR aims to make the beach fit for swimming by December or early next year.
In late October during a press briefing, DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units Concerns Benny Antiporda said, “It’s within reach. Basically, we can see that we can beat the deadline earlier. The real objective is to finish it not by the end of administration but within the year.”
Why is it not swimmable yet?
LOOK: Teenagers and some children are seen taking a dip near the “dolomite beach” in Manila Bay on June 4, 2021 despite authorities prohibiting swimming in the area due to safety concerns. |📷: Richard A. Reyes/Philippine Daily Inquirer pic.twitter.com/UQSlmzHbYN
— Inquirer (@inquirerdotnet) June 4, 2021
At the moment, the level of fecal coliform bacteria in the water is still high, making the water quality by the beach not yet fit for swimming. Fecal coliform bacteria may increase the chances of contracting illnesses.
How high are the levels of fecal coliform bacteria?
When the rehabilitation work started in late 2018, the fecal coliform level of the waters of Manila Bay was around 35 million to 1.36 billion million most probable number (MPN) per 100 mL. DENR is aiming to bring the numbers down to 100 MPN per 100 milliliters, which is the standard level for swimming. Right now, while the numbers have gone down, it is still not ideal at 22,000 MPN per 100 mL.
#ManilaBay Dolomite Beach is now open!
Visitors may visit the beach from 8:00am to 6:00pm daily, provided that prescribed health protocols are observed.
As it reopens, there are a few simple rules and regulations that must be followed.
— ＤＥＮＲ (@DENROfficial) October 22, 2021
“Though people are allowed to visit the beach, swimming is still prohibited since there are still ongoing works to make the bay’s water quality fit for swimming,” DENR Undersecretary for policy, planning, and international affairs Jonas Leones said.
How will DENR do it?
DENR’s Manila Bay Task Force (MBTF) is still working on improving the levels of fecal coliform bacteria by continuously checking drainage discharged into the bay, as well as the waterways around the area. They will particularly look into the drainage system of Padra Faura, Remedios, and Abad to begin.
— ＤＥＮＲ (@DENROfficial) July 13, 2021
“Apart from making sure that enough dolomite sand has been put in place, we are continuously checking drainage outfalls discharging into Manila Bay. Cleanup of creeks and waterways has also been intensified,” Leones shared.
When will it happen?
DENR is hoping to finish making the bay swimmable by year-end or the first quarter of 2022. This coincides with the beginning of next year’s summer season.
Actually, nakikita nga po ng atin pong kalihim na ipinipilit po na bago ho matapos ang administrasyong ito ay maging swimmable na po ang area [na] ‘yan,” Antiporda said.
Expect more amenities
Once the ideal levels have been reached, DENR also plans to make the dolomite beach a tourist attraction — more so than it is right now. Aside from the swimmable beach, there might be a playground, a fishing area, solar-powered restrooms, and even some landscaped areas for more photo opportunities.
JUST IN: The DENR announces that the Dolomite beach in Manila will remain closed to give way to different activities in the area such as improvement of water quality, phase 2 of the dolomite beach project, and construction of solar-powered comfort rooms among others. pic.twitter.com/GQbQFIFdgJ
— ABS-CBN News (@ABSCBNNews) November 3, 2021
After the influx of visitors in late October, the dolomite beach was announced to be closed from October 29 to November 2 in observance of Undas. However, by November 3, this closure was extended to early 2022 to give way to DENR’s plans.
Will you try to swim in the dolomite beach in the future? Tell us your thoughts below.