Reclaimed lands have done good The Netherlands, Dubai, Singapore and other countries, increasing economic, commercial and financial activities.
Elsewhere, lands taken back from the sea act as wave breakers against tsunamis and storm surges.
If reclamations were poorly planned, engineered and implemented, however, they could endanger surrounding areas.
These were noted by scientists in a policy discussion on Monday to renew their opposition against reclamation plans for Manila Bay and Laguna de Bay.
Dr. Kelvin Rodolfo, member of the Philippine National Academy of Science and Technology and professor emeritus at the University of Illinois, said the plans for the two bays are a “very bad idea.”
He argued that rapid subsidence of coastal lands is enhancing risks of flooding and high tides.
Renowned architect Felino Palafox Jr., principal architect-urban planner of Palafox Associates and president of Palafox Architecture Group Incorporated, explained that new urban land also needs creation of more access roads that links existing main roads and can contribute to further traffic congestion and slowdown of drainage and flood control.
Rodolfo and Palafox noted that reclamation can increase the impact of natural disasters because reclaimed coastal areas are susceptible to liquefaction that can enhance ground-shaking during earthquakes.
“The reclamation area can only do the country a lot of good if it is done properly in the right place, at the right time, at the right land-use type and density and correct planning and development,” Palafox said.
Rodolfo pointed out that the government and its foreign partners have been “ignoring or minimizing the phenomena” in the reclamation plans despite scientists warning that both target areas are “very dangerous and unsuitable.”
“Let’s stop playing games. Let’s make a choice: We take the earthquake threat seriously, prepare for it with disaster preparations such as earthquake drills, and not worsen the potential disaster by building the Laguna Lake Expressway Dike and Manila Bay reclamations.
“Or let’s all pretend that the earthquake will never happen, and build reclamation projects in the lake and Manila Bay,” Rodolfo said.