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Take it from DOH: Dolomite dust can cause respiratory issues, other health hazards

By: - Reporter / @DYGalvezINQ
/ 01:12 PM September 07, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health Monday flagged potential health hazards that might be brought about by the plan to dump artificial “white sand” in Manila Bay, among them respiratory ailments.

Dolomite dust, which comes from crushed rocks from Cebu and dumped in Manila Bay to transform it into a white-sand beach, can cause respiratory issues when inhaled, among others, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said, citing medical studies.

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“‘Yung dolomite dust, it can cause respiratory issues or effects to a person. Kapag napunta sa mata, nagkakaroon ng irritation so you just have to wash it off with water,” she said in an online media forum.

(If it comes in contact with the eyes, it can cause irritation so you jsut have to wash it off with water.)

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“Kapag na-ingest ito, it can have discomfort sa gastrointestinal system natin and magkakaroon lang ng kaunting sakit ng tiyan at pagtatae,” Vergeire added.

(If this is ingested, it can have discomfort in a person’s gastrointestinal system it will cause pain and diarrhea.)

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has dumped 3,500 WMT (wet metric tonne) of processed dolomite on Manila Bay as part of the Manila Bay Rehabilitation Program launched by Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu in January 2019 to save the bay from decades of pollution and urban blight, as ordered by the Supreme Court.

These rocks, which are made of calcium magnesium carbonate, came from Alcoy, Cebu province.

Critics were quick to point out the environmental hazards the project could cause not only on Manila Bay but also on the area where the rocks were sourced.

The DOH said that people wanting to go to Manila Bay would need to follow minimum public health standards such as wearing face masks to avoid inhaling the dust from the dolomite rocks.

“I think with the clearance of the DENR, hindi naman ipapatupad ng DENR yan kung hindi nila napag-aralan na this will cause harm to the environment and also to our people,” Vergeire said.

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(I think this project would not have been approved if it will cause harm to the environment and also for our people.)

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TAGS: DoH, dolomite dust, Health Hazards, Manila Bay, white sand
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