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2 Czech experts in town to help clean up spill

October 19, 2006

By Hazel P. Villa, Nestor P. Burgos Jr.
Inquirer, Oct. 19, 2006

ILOILO CITY—Two Czechoslovakian experts on bioremediation arrived in Guimaras on Oct. 16 to help in the ongoing cleanup of the Aug. 11 Petron oil spill.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources regional office said the experts, Jakub Kanta and Petra Zackova from the Czech Republic, have extensive experience dealing with bioremediation of soil and water contaminated with hydrocarbons in various European and Asian countries.

The DENR defines bioremediation as any process that uses microorganisms, such as bacteria, to return the environment altered by contaminants to its original condition.

Julian Amador, DENR regional executive director, said the experts would be in Guimaras until Oct 21 to evaluate the situation and identify areas where bioremediation will be implemented.

The experts conducted a two-day technical orientation for DENR personnel this week.

Amador said they plan to introduce indigenous bacteria with the help of scientists from the University of the Philippines in the Visayas and the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (Seafdec).

The bacteria will be tested for a month before they are introduced to the affected areas, Amador said.

The use of bioremediation was one of the options in the cleanup of the shoreline identified by scientists.

The DENR cited the need to get experts to help in the bioremediation process; the University of the Philippines is in the process of identifying the appropriate strain of microorganism that would be used.

Dr. Gilda Po, chief senior aquaculture specialist of Seafdec, has already isolated oil-decomposing bacteria from the oil-affected sites of Guimaras.

“We are drawing up plans,” said Dr. Rex Sadaba, mangrove scientist and coordinator of the UPV research group.

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