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Would you dare visit ‘Manila Bay Sands’?

Raye Sanchez

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Life under quarantine for the past six months must have been so boring to the city folks who flocked to Roxas Boulevard for a glimpse of the artificial white sand or dolomite that was being poured on the shore of Manila Bay as part of the government’s “beautification” project.

Officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said the white sand — it looked more like beige — was meant to discourage the further degradation of Manila Bay which, for many years, has suffered from pollution.

Netizens had a blast on social media as they poked fun at the fake sand. The memes dripped with sarcasm.

In one instance: a photo of Boracay and, below it, a snapshot of Manila Bay dubbed “Burakay.”

Somebody thought of an alternative name: Manila Bay Sands.

The thing is, a United States cement company and the Philippines’ Department of Health (DoH) said dolomite is a health risk.

The Texas-based cement supplier Lehigh Hanson said, in a 2012 safety data report (www.lehighhanson.com/docs/default-source/safety-data-sheets/sds-dolomite.pdf?sfvrsn=66124d22_4), that dolomite — which is used in the manufacture of bricks, mortar, cement, concrete, plasters, paving materials and other construction materials — may cause cancer and lung damage through prolonged or repeated exposure.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that dolomite can cause pain in the stomach and diarrhea when ingested.

Yikes! But wait, maybe that was the intention — to scare people from frolicking again in Manila Bay by pouring fake sand.

Gosh! We hope nothing happened to that lady in a red swimsuit who posed on the sand for pictures just before authorities closed down the area.

As for the curious mob that was packed cheek by jowl on the pedestrian overpass, God forbid anybody caught the COVID-19 virus.

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