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Manila Bay Sands draws crowds; social distancing a challenge


People flocked to Roxas Boulevard in Manila before sunrise on Sunday as many hoped to experience walking on Manila Bay Sands, the "white sand" portion of Baywalk.

According to GMA News reporter Jonathan Andal, the crowds were already thick as of 5:30 a.m.

Social distancing remained a challenge since people stood close to each other in line.

 

 

The Manila Bay Sands, which was opened to the public on Saturday, will again be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. The area will be closed starting Monday for rehabilitation work to continue on Manila Bay.

Traffic slowed down on Sunday as people occupied up to two lanes of Roxas Boulevard.

 

Hundreds of people crowd Roxas Boulevard in Manila hoping to see the Manila Bay Sands, the "white sand" part of Baywalk, on Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020. The Department of Environment of Natural Resources allowed people to visit the area near the US Embassy only this weekend from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Danny Pata

 

 

Curious onlookers came on foot, while some were on bicycles, according to a report on Dobol B sa News TV by Manny Vargas.

 

 

As of 7:20 a.m., the tail-end of the queue reached as far as the corner of Roxas Boulevard and Pedro Gil.

Personnel from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the Manila Police District (MPD) are at the area to maintain order.

 

 

The overpass overlooking the beach was also crowded.

 

 

Meanwhile, those who were able to get in took photos and videos during the few minutes they are allowed inside the cordoned-off area.

 

 

 

People stand by the shore of the white sand beach called Manila Bay Sands along Roxas Boulevard in Manila on Sunday, September 20, 2020. The Department of Environment of Natural Resources and the City of Manila allowed people to witness the result of the Manila Bay rehabilitation. Only 70 persons are allowed to enter at a time and they can only stay for 3 minutes.  Danny Pata

 

 

People enjoy the "white sands" of Manila Bay Sands on Sunday, September 20, 2020.  Danny Pata

 

 

On Saturday, many people also lined up to enter the Manila Bay Sands, disregarding physical distancing. 

The Manila Bay Sands opening on Saturday was attended by government officials including Manila Mayor Isko Moreno.

The project drew criticisms after concerns were raised on the effect on one's health of the crushed dolomite used for the "white sands".

Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu defended the initiative of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to decorate the Manila Bay shoreline with white sand using crushed dolomite rocks from Cebu province.

"The size of the dolomite in Baywalk is 2 to 5 millimeters or equivalent to 2,000 to 5,000 microns or 100 times bigger than dust and therefore not suspended in air and cannot be inhaled," he said.

Environment Undersecretary Jonas Leones pointed out that only P28 million of the P389 million allocation for the beach nourishment project was used for the dolomite rocks.

DENR placed 500 tons of crushed dolomite to create the "white sand" area.

It added that concerned agencies and experts were consulted for the project—with a report from Joviland Rita/KG, GMA News

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