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More eco groups call for speedy Guimaras cleanup

February 11, 2007

The Philippine STAR 02/11/2007

WITH the threat of more sea areas being exposed to the dangers of oil spill and similar sea tragedies involving the natural environment, more environmental groups yesterday called for more vigilance against the prospect of marine pollution.

The Visayan Sea is rich with marine species and forms part of the migratory path of fishes plying the Indian and Pacific oceans. Similarly, the Visayan region is within the coral triangle and is touted as a megabiodiversity region. While these areas can be speedily cleaned up, the damage done is irreversible, said Antonio M. Claparols, president of the Ecological Society of the Philippines (ESP).

Once bunker fuel or bunker oil seeps into the water, they will not only affect the whole seashores and land areas immediately surrounding the spill but will likewise settle into the bottom of the ocean, immediately killing all living things there and its vicinities, he explained.

The Guimaras Strait is home to a variety of rich marine species which is the main livelihood and source of food for millions of people in its vicinity.

The strict regulations involving inspection of the ship and the trip of bunker fuel cargoes must be done on its point of origin and every ship carrying them must pass stringent requirements before they are allowed to venture into the sea, he added.

“With more and more ocean vessels plying our area of responsibility, we cannot deny the fact that accidents of this kind occur, and we must be a step ahead of any eventualities,” Claparols said.

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