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European experts to help in Visayas oil spill cleanup

October 11, 2006

By Veronica Uy
INQ7.net, Oct. 11, 2006

TWO European experts are coming to the Philippines to help in the oil spill cleanup in central Philippines, European Commission officials said Wednesday.

The Europeans – Jakub Kanta and Petra Zackova – are bioremediation specialists who use microorganisms to let a devastated environment regenerate, the Delegation of the European Commission to the Philippines said in a statement.

The experts, both from the Czech Republic, will be in the Philippines from October 16-23. They both work for Dekonta, a company providing bioremediation solutions to contaminated ecosystems.

MT Solar I sank in rough seas off Guimaras Island on August 11, spilling over a quarter of a million liters of bunker fuel into the sea, affecting 41,299 people.

The spill has also damaged 1,143 hectares of marine reserve, 234 kilometers of coastline, 478 hectares of mangroves and nearly 16 square kilometers of coral reef.

The EC will send the experts at the Philippine government’s request. They will augment efforts of specialists from the University of the Philippines employing indigenous bacteria to help solve the spill.

“Both Kanta and Zackova have extensive experience dealing with bioremediation of soil and water contaminated with hydrocarbons in various European and Asian countries,” the statement said.

The European Commission, through its Monitoring and Information Center, has extensive experience in responding to marine pollution emergencies. Its marine pollution teams are now involved in cleanup operations in Lebanon following an oil spill triggered by military attacks in July. (Related post below)

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