RP has second-dirtiest seas, report says
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines ranks second in the world for most trash recovered from its oceans, an international conservation group has revealed.
The US-based Ocean Conservancy reported that 1,355,236 items of trash were recovered from the country’s shorelines, ocean surface and underwater during the International Coastal Cleanup conducted by the group in September 2008, which involved nearly 400,000 volunteers around the world.
The results of the cleanup were presented in a report by the group titled “A Rising Tide of Ocean Debris” was released on March 10 and available on the group’s website.
Topping the list of trash items were plastic bags (679,957 pieces), paper bags (253,013) and food wrappers (103,226). Also recovered were 38,394 pieces of clothing and shoes, 55,814 tobacco-related items including cigarette butts (34,154), lighters and wrappers, and 11,077 diapers.
The United States topped the list of countries with the most trash recovered, with 3,945,855 items. In third place was Costa Rica with 1,017,621 items.
Ocean Conservancy said it collected 11.4 million pieces of trash from 6,485 sites in 104 countries, including the Philippines.
“We are all connected to the ocean. The disheartening amount of trash afloat in the sea, littering beaches and piling up on the sea floor affects the earth’s life support system, the ocean and all the living things in it,” the report said.
“Marine debris is more than a blemish on nature, it is a potential threat to our food supply, to tourism and economic activity, to marine wildlife and ecosystems, and to our personal health. It even relates to the impacts of climate change,” it added.
Because of the study, local waste and pollution watchdog EcoWaste Coalition called on the public to help restore the health of Philippine waters.
On World Consumer Rights Day on Sunday (March 15), the coalition called for more awareness, responsibility and action to save the oceans and waterways, particularly from plastic garbage.
“We urge local and national authorities to fully enforce Republic Act No. 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, to stop the dumping of trash in the canals and esteros that eventually find their way into the marine ecosystem,” said Manny Calonzo, EcoWaste Coalition president.
To prevent garbage from entering the marine environment, the coalition urged consumers to adopt basic practices in ecological waste management, including waste prevention, reduction, separation at source, recycling reuse and composting.
In 2006, the group together with Greenpeace conducted a joint discards survey of Manila Bay which showed that 76 percent of the garbage in the bay was made of plastic and 51 percent was plastic bags, Calonzo said.
The coalition also urged the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and National Solid Waste Management Commission to do something about the trash in the oceans.