After Metro Manila was reduced to Alert Level 3, the man-made 140-meter dolomite beach at Manila Bay reopened last Saturday, attracting dozens of promenaders and picnickers.

Photo Courtesy: Philippine News Agency

The Manila Baywalk Dolomite Beach, also known as Dolomite Beach, is an artificial beach produced through the technique of beach nourishment in Manila Bay in Manila, Philippines. The project is part of the Manila Bay Rehabilitation Program, which was begun by Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu in January 2019 in response to a Supreme Court injunction to safeguard the bay from decades of pollution and urban blight.

 

What is Dolomite Sand and why did it come into play in this project?

Environmental Ombudsman urged to probe Manila Bay dolomite dumping

Photo Courtesy: The STAR / Miguel de Guzman

Dolomite has been around for a long time, but it wasn’t until recently that it piqued the attention of many Filipinos.

The white sand used was actually crushed dolomite, a calcium magnesium carbonate, delivered to Manila from Cebu province. But why did dolomite come into play in this project?

Dolomite, also known as calcium magnesium carbonate, is a non-metallic mineral used in bricks, mortar, cement, concrete, polymers, paving materials, and other building products. The rock is thought to occur when limestone is changed by magnesium-rich groundwater in warm, shallow marine conditions.

It’s crushed and graded to be used as a road base, concrete and asphalt aggregate, railroad ballast, rip-rap, or fill. It’s also used to make cement, and it’s carved into blocks of a specified size called “dimension stone.”

It has low solubility, making it resistant to rain and soil acidity. It’s utilized in the chemical industry to neutralize acids, as well as in-stream and beach restoration projects, and as a soil conditioner. As a result, crushed dolomite is employed in the beach replenishment of Manila Bay.

Beach nourishment, on the other hand, does not stop erosion; rather, it only delays it for a brief period of time. Beach nourishment is a soft engineering alternative to hard shore structures (such as seawalls and groins) for creating a natural beach environment for the bay, burying shore protection structures to eliminate negative effects, and retaining sediment volumes to respond to rising sea levels caused by climate change.

 

French Riviera also features dolomite

Photo Courtesy: Getty

Manila Bay isn’t the first to have dolomite. The French Riviera is a magnificent coastline that runs along the Mediterranean Sea in the southeast of France. 

It is a famous tourist destination with both natural and man-made shorelines. Even though

space at the original site was restricted, the late twentieth century saw the creation of man-made beaches in response to population growth and visitor demand.

Today, 21.5 percent of the French Riviera is made up of man-built shorelines that serve as tourist beaches, yachting harbors, and reclamation fill. Fine sand or gravel extracted from limestone, sandstone, and dolomite was used to form these shorelines. They were utilized to renovate existing natural beaches to make them more appealing to tourists, as well as to provide room to the French Riviera.

 

Health or aesthetics?

Despite the fact that the material is typically considered non-toxic in the construction industry, some studies have linked high levels of dolomite dust exposure to respiratory diseases.

In early September last year, as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) began laying out white sand made from crushed dolomite rocks to act as white sand and beautify the area, the Department of Health (DOH)  initially warned about the respiratory risks posed by crushed dolomite rocks, but later clarified that dolomite is not a health hazard in its bulk state.

Photo Courtesy: DENR

Moreover, according to a study published in the Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal in 2012, “symptoms such as regular cough, phlegm, wheezing, productive cough, and shortness of breath were much more prevalent among exposed workers” utilizing dolomite in a dam project. “No major abnormalities were identified in the chest radiographs of both exposed and non-exposed individuals,” according to the same study. These data imply that while dolomite dust can cause mild respiratory difficulties, the study was unable to verify that long-term exposure to the materials will result in serious illnesses.

 

Safety reminders!

Whether or not dolomite is harmful, it is still a good idea to follow some safety precautions. Exposure to dolomite dust, in particular, can be risky, so be careful to follow these safety precautions:

  • Wearing an N95 mask while working in a facility that handles dolomite dust or sand is a smart idea to avoid breathing it in.

  • It’s also a good idea to wear long-sleeved shirts to avoid skin discomfort.

  • Try to stay away from dusty locations as much as possible. If at all possible, patients with respiratory issues should avoid dolomite dust or sand.

  • When cleaning up dolomite sand or dust, using vacuums can assist prevent inhalation of microscopic particles.

  • Dolomite dust and sand should be stored and transformed properly as well.

 

RELATED ARTICLES:

Common Types Of Sand Used In Construction

Calculating Cement, Sand, and Gravel

Top 5 Things To Do in Manila With the Family

 

CITATIONS:

  • Batara, J. A. (2021, June 1). Dolomite Health Hazards: Should You Be Concerned? Hello Doctor. Retrieved October 22, 2021, from https://hellodoctor.com.ph/respiratory-health/respiratory-issues/dolomite-health-hazards/

  • Ornedo, J. M. (2020, September 9). DOH clarifies: Dolomite in bulk state not a health hazard. GMA News Online. Retrieved October 22, 2021, from https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/nation/754879/doh-clarifies-dolomite-in-bulk-state-not-a-health-hazard/story/

  • Mawis-Aliston, V. (2020, September 26). Dolomite beyond Manila Bay. Inquirer. Retrieved October 22, 2021, from https://business.inquirer.net/308266/dolomite-beyond-manila-bay#:~:text=It%20is%20frequently%20used%20in%20the%20production%20of,have%20also%20been%20built%20with%20the%20same%20material.

  •  

    ANNEX B 19O00061. DPWH. (n.d.). Retrieved October 20, 2021, from https://www.dpwh.gov.ph/dpwh/sites/default/files/webform/civil_works/bid_bulletin/ANNEX%20B%2019O00061.pdf.

  • Calvelo, G. (2020, December 18). Workers replenish dolomite in Manila Bay. ABS-CBN. Retrieved October 20, 2021, from https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/multimedia/photo/12/18/20/workers-replenish-dolomite-in-manila-bay.
  • Chavez, C. (2021, January 17). DENR on track to complete Manila Bay Rehab Project. Manila Bulletin. Retrieved October 20, 2021, from https://mb.com.ph/2021/01/17/denr-on-track-to-complete-manila-bay-rehab-project/.
  • Cruz, M. (2020, September 13). Impact of the Use of Dolomite in Beach Nourishment in Manila Bay. GOVPH. Retrieved October 20, 2021, from https://mgb.gov.ph/2015-05-13-02-02-11/mgb-news/890-impact-of-the-use-of-dolomite-in-beach-nourishment-in-manila-bay.
  • CNN Philippines Staff. (2020, September 19). Look: Crowd gathers at Manila Bay’s new ‘white beach’. cnn. Retrieved October 20, 2021, from https://www.cnnphilippines.com/news/2020/9/19/manila-bay-white-beach-crowd.html.
  • Erram, M. M. B. (2020, September 5). 3.5K metric tons of dolomite for Manila Bay from Alcoy, Cebu. INQUIRER.net. Retrieved October 20, 2021, from https://cebudailynews.inquirer.net/338085/3-5k-metric-tons-of-dolomite-for-manila-bay-from-alcoy-cebu.
  • GMA News Online. (2020, November 14). Manila Bay dolomite beach littered with garbage after Typhoon Ulysses. GMA News Online. Retrieved October 20, 2021, from https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/metro/764119/manila-bay-dolomite-beach-littered-with-garbage-after-typhoon-ulysses/story/.
  • King, H. M. (n.d.). Dolomite. geology.com. Retrieved October 20, 2021, from https://geology.com/minerals/dolomite.shtml.
  • Manila Bulletin. (2021, October 15). Fault in spaces in Manila baywalk dolomite beach signage fixed after going viral. Manila Bulletin. Retrieved October 20, 2021, from https://mb.com.ph/2021/09/28/fault-in-spaces-in-manila-baywalk-dolomite-beach-signage-fixed-after-going-viral/.
  • Mayuga, J. L. (2020, November 2). Beach nourishment project is a work in progress. BusinessMirror. Retrieved October 20, 2021, from https://businessmirror.com.ph/2020/11/02/beach-nourishment-project-is-a-work-in-progress-denr/.
  • Mendiola, R. (2020, September 9). DENR insists Manila Bay ‘White Sand’ project safe. Asian Journal News. Retrieved October 20, 2021, from https://www.asianjournal.com/philippines/across-the-islands/denr-insists-manila-bay-white-sand-project-safe/.
  • Ong, G. (2021, October 16). Manila bay dolomite beach reopens. Philstar.com. Retrieved October 20, 2021, from https://www.philstar.com/nation/2021/10/17/2134676/manila-bay-dolomite-beach-reopens.
  • Pabalate, N. (2021, July 19). Manila Bay dolomite beach is open to the public again. Manila Bulletin. Retrieved October 20, 2021, from https://mb.com.ph/2021/07/18/manila-bay-dolomite-beach-is-open-to-the-public-again/.
  • Quismorio, E. (2021, June 15). Not just dolomite: DENR to spruce up Manila Bay with coconut trees, too. Manila Bulletin. Retrieved October 20, 2021, from https://mb.com.ph/2021/06/15/not-just-dolomite-denr-to-use-coconut-trees-in-sprucing-up-manila-bay/.
  • Subingsubing, K. (2020, September 4). Critics see red in Manila Bay’s ‘White Sand’ makeover. INQUIRER.net. Retrieved October 20, 2021, from https://cebudailynews.inquirer.net/337793/critics-see-red-in-manila-bays-white-sand-makeover.

 

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