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P32.8M estimated annual loss from Guimaras oil spill

September 21, 2006

By Jimmy P. Abayon

RESEARCHERS from Silliman University reported that the environmental havoc caused by the Guimaras oil spill would mean an estimated potential annual loss of P32.8 million from fish products owing to damaged mangroves, wood products, and seagrass-based fishery products.

The estimate is contained in a report submitted by a 24-member research team from Silliman University that made a rapid assessment of the effects of the bunker oil spill caused by the sinking of the tanker M/T Solar I off the coast of Guimaras Island on August 11.

The team, led by international marine scientist and former environment secretary Dr. Angel Alcala, said the oil spill has already contaminated the coastal ecosystems like mangroves and beaches of southern Guimaras and associated islands and some areas of eastern Iloilo province.

The contamination, said the team’s report, has swept 184 kilometers of coastline, 1,141 hectares of mangrove ecosystem, 88 hectares of seagrass beds in Guimaras province, and 4.5 kilometers of coastline and 38 hectares of mangroves in Iloilo province.

However, it said, although coral reefs were not found to be visibly affected, the long term effects must be looked into.

(For the full story, click Sunstar Dumaguete, Sept. 21, 2006.)

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