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Chemical dispersant used in Guimaras oil spill more harmful—DOST

September 28, 2006

By Helen Flores
The Philippines Star, Sept. 27, 2006

THE Department of Science and Technology (DOST) confirmed yesterday that the chemical dispersants used in containing the Guimaras oil spill may cause more harm to the already distressed area.

Dun sa katanungan na ang chemical dispersants na ito ay mas toxic, actually totoo ’yun (It’s actually true that the chemical dispersants are toxic),” Dr. Jaime Montoya, executive director of the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD), of the DOST, said during a press conference at the Hotel Kimberly in Malate, Manila.

Montoya made the statement in reaction to a scientific study conducted by Silliman University, which cautioned against the use of chemical oil dispersants in cleaning the oil spill.

Reports said that the research team found that “the effects of dispersants on living organisms are worse that the actual effects of the oil spill.”

Montoya, however, said that the agencies concerned in containing the oil spill should weigh the risk and benefit of using chemical dispersants.

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) used chemical dispersants to clean up the oil spill in Guimaras.

Lahat ng ginagawa natin sa siyensya at medicina laging may harm yan, sa gamot may side effects pero kailangan mo laging isipin na dapat yun benepisyo na gusto mong makuha should outweigh the risk or the harm (All we do in the field of science and medicine has some harm, medicines have side effects, but you have to think that the benefits you desire should outweigh the risk or harm),” he stressed

He said the issue of using the chemical dispersants is now being debated upon.

“Does it actually outweigh the potential harm to the ecological environment?” Montoya said, adding that these chemicals would eventually reach shore and the people who would be exposed to them.

Montoya added that there are no really “global experts” in this case because it is rarely happening in any country.

He said the experiences of other countries in handling oil spills are the government’s basis of response.

He also said that there are other ways of treating the oil spill, like the use of coconut and corn husks as oil absorbents.

Maraming substitutes, dapat alamin kung anong pinakamaganda ’yun ang dapat asikasuhin, importante dito maaddress natin ’yun problema taking into consideration not only the actual oil spill itself but its acute and long-term effect in the environment and the population,” he said.

The M/T Solar I, carrying more than two million liters of bunker fuel, sank off Guimaras waters on Aug. 11 causing the country’s worst-ever oil spill.

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One comment

  1. This is a very real disaster and will probably reach beyond the insurance companies and fishery. I have worked in the TX oilfield as a female mud logger for several years. 2009 was a hard year for us. This year started out better and with much more promise. I have worked a jobs and was to start following an Anadarko in June. I really will be suprised if that happens since they were in with BP for 25%. I am of the opinion that drilling permits will be harder to get both on and off shore, even for companies that do make efforts to emphasise safety and environmental issues. This isn’t at all what we need right now!! I also have no doubt the people on that rig knew they were playing a game with he devil when they were running seawater in place of drilling mud. Drilling mud=well control. I have spent many nights sitting in front of the guages that measure up hole gas among other things and have never bet my life or the lives of the others on the location on a piece of a machiery. It is about everyone doing their job and using experience and knowledge to maintain safety and the integrity of the well. I have no idea who was mud logging on that well but that person along with the “company man” have the burden of 11 lives to carry for a lifetime. I hope after an experience I had running water in place of mud on a land well I would have done everything in my power to stop that process before it resulted in the loss of life and environmental catastrophy this well has brought us. That land well also blewout. Thankfully noone was hurt!! Anyone else think this “incident” will have an adverse affect on the oil field getting back on its feet??



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