Aklan LGU presents 6-month Boracay action plan for the island’s recovery

admin   •   February 28, 2018   •   7110

FILE PHOTO: A resort in Boracay Island

AKLAN, Philippines — The local government of Aklan has presented its six-month action plan for the rehabilitation of Boracay.

This is in response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to clean the once prestigious island.

During a dialogue with various stakeholders on Tuesday, Malay officials explained the six-month Boracay action plan which states the repair of the drainage system, water treatment facilities, as well as the steps it will take to address over the construction of facilities, pollution, and overcrowding in the said tourist destination.

Due to the rising number of establishments and tourists visiting the island, the population of its workers is also growing.

Based on the figures of the Malay local government unit (LGU), 62 percent of the population of Boracay are cramming in the small island.

This resulted in more land and water wastes daily.

Alongside the increase of population is the increase in number of new structures that, local officials noted, have failed to follow standards.

The Malay LGU also urges participation and unity among stakeholders to ensure the successful rehabilitation of the premier tourist destination of the country. — Mon Jocson | UNTV News & Rescue

BI nabs overstaying Indian national working as chef in Boracay

Marje Pelayo   •   September 16, 2019

​​MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) reported the arrest on September 4 of an Indian national employed as a chef without a permit and visa in the tourist island of Boracay.

Accoridng to BI, the alien was identified as Vincent Joseph Mondal, 42, an allegedly overstaying and undocumented foreign worker.

Intelligence Division Acting Chief Fortunato Manahan Jr said Mondal was arrested while at work at Namaster Restaurant located beside the Boracay public market where he had been working as chief cook.

“He was unable to present his passport or any travel document when our agents confronted him to verify his immigration status,” Manahan said.

The BI discovered that Mondal was an illegal entrant as he entered the country through the backdoor and did not undergo inspection by immigration authorities.

​​It was also determined that Mondal had been banned from entering the country and placed on the immigration blacklist over a similar case of overstaying and failure to pay the assessed fines and penalties some time in 2013.

​​Mondal is now detained at the BI detention center while summary deportation proceedings are being undertaken.

From rice fields to trash fields: Indonesian farmers find profit in pollution

Robie de Guzman   •   August 16, 2019

Once home to rice farmers and their luscious green paddy fields, this Indonesian village is now a dump for truckloads of rubbish.

As Indonesia looks to tackle the country’s growing mountain of trash, the residents of East Java’s 200-hectare Bangun village have found a way to reel in profit from the problem — by opening their gates to garbage trucks and choosing to turn their fertile fields into rubbish sorting plots.

The health and environmental repercussions for Bangun village might be huge, said non-government organization, Ecological Observation and Wetlands Conservation (ECOTON), which has been observing the issue in the area for the last five years.

Now, more than 60 percent of the village residents have opted to enter the rubbish sorting business, and for the time being, that looks unlikely to drop.

“If I’m farming, I need to wait three months to get results, but if I’m sorting rubbish, we can make money in a day, two days or even a week,” said one farmer, Siti Maimanah.

On average, a worker in Bangun can earn between $7-14 per week picking through the sea of paper and plastic, and that can rise to $35 if the piles are particularly high – a tempting proposition when the farming alternative would leave them waiting with nothing for weeks on weeks, said Maimanah.

Ecoton said it has obtained evidence that the garbage in the area is imported from at least 54 countries around the world, including Europe, the United States, Australia, and Asia, under the pretense it is ‘paper waste’. Reuters found plastic packaging amongst the piles, including from Canada and the United States.

That’s adding on top of the huge amount of garbage the world’s fourth-most populous country with 260 million people generates on its own.

Earlier this year, the city of Surabaya sent back more than 200 tonnes of trash to Australia and U.S. as part of efforts to push back ‘foreign trash’ amid a spike in imports from Western countries after China banned imports.

“Our country has been labeled a dirty country and now America is adding their rubbish on top. Sending this garbage is clearly a violation of the law,” said Ecoton’s protest coordinator, Prigi Arisandi, during a recent protest in front of the U.S. consulate in Indonesia’s second-biggest city, Surabaya.

The archipelago of more than 17,000 islands has been struggling to cope with the waste, with much of it going into landfill and often eventually seeping out to pollute rivers and oceans. According to a 2015 study published in the Science journal, Indonesia was the world’s second-biggest contributor of plastic pollutants in the oceans.

The mountain of trash in Bangun village is also not going to vanish overnight despite the government’s efforts and plan to set up waste-to-energy plants across the country.

And for now, Indonesians like Maimanah say their day-to-day survival is far more important than the environment. (REUTERS)

(Production: Prasto Wardoyo, Heru Asprihanto, Angie Teo, Natasha Howitt)

Microplastics contaminating air, scientists warn

Robie de Guzman   •   August 16, 2019

German and Swiss scientists have published a study suggesting that microplastic is being blown vast distances through the air and dumped when it snows, underscoring the threat the growing form of pollution poses to marine life in even the remotest waters on the planet.

The team, from the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI), analyzed snow samples in Germany, the Swiss Alps and on the Norwegian Arctic archipelago of Svalbard to confirm that the snow in all places contained high concentrations of plastic fragments, known as microplastic.

“It’s readily apparent that the majority of the microplastic in the snow comes from the air,” lead researcher Melanie Bergmann said in a press release.

The highest concentration in samples was collected in a rural area in Germany’s southern province of Bavaria, totaling to 154,000 particles per liter. The snow in the Arctic contained up to 14,400 particles per liter in comparison.

Researchers found particles of nitrile rubber, acrylates and paints containing plastics in their snow samples.

The study, published on Wednesday (August 14), is reinforced by research conducted by a U.S.-led team of scientists in the Northwest Passage. The team found the material trapped in ice taken from Lancaster Sound, an isolated stretch of water in the Canadian Arctic, which they had assumed might be relatively sheltered from drifting plastic pollution.

Eighteen ice cores of up to 2 meters (6.5 feet) long were drawn from four locations, containing visible plastic beads and filaments of various shapes and sizes.

The plastic fragments serve to highlight how the waste problem has reached epidemic proportions.

The United Nations estimates that 100 million tonnes of plastic have been dumped in the oceans to date. (REUTERS)

(Production: Barbara Woolsey)

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