An expert calls for reduction of plastic wastes to save marine life

Marje Pelayo   •   August 16, 2018   •   2438

 

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – A marine biology expert calls on the public to be responsible in managing domestic wastes before it’s too late to save the country’s marine resources.

Last week, a 14-year old juvenile whale shark was washed ashore in Tagum City.

After the necropsy conducted on the mammal’s corpse, Davao-based American marine biologist and bone collector Darrel Blatchley discovered found several pieces of plastic in the marine creature’s stomach like cups and wrappers.

Blatchley assured that the ingestion of these pieces of plastic caused the marine animal’s death.

“Basically they swam on the ocean they open their mouth and just filter everything to their gills…Unfortunately, in the case of this one, there were plastic cups that got stuck in the gills. There were candy wrappers …plastic debris that was plugging up their gills, also filling up their stomach,” Blatchley said.

Upon learning of the animal’s bitter end, Blatchley called on the public to help protect the environment especially the bodies of water like lakes, rivers, and oceans.

Whale sharks, which grow up to 40-feet long and up to hundreds of years, are now considered endangered.

Blatchley emphasized that their participation is vital in maintaining balance in the marine ecosystem by providing fertilizer on the seabed.

“They’re controlling everything. The ecosystem has a balance that keeps the other species in balance. Sharks, they eat the sick and the dying one so they are the garbage collectors,” explained Blatchley.

Based on a study conducted by the Ocean Conservancy and the McKinsey Center for Business and Environment, the Philippines is among the five countries in Asia that dispose of plastic wastes direct to the ocean.

Blatchley hopes such death of an important marine creature will be prevented in the future. He calls for a strict waste management system and responsible waste disposal among Filipinos.– Janice Ingente / Marje Pelayo

Marine advocate group: ‘clean, dry and sort’ method keeps plastic away from the ocean

UNTV News   •   February 28, 2020

The Philippines produce 2.7 metric tons of plastic waste every year. The United Nations reports that there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050. 

Ineffective waste management systems and consumers’ irresponsibleness are mainly referred to as culprits of ocean plastic pollution.

Aiming to resolve this problem, marine advocate group, Clean Our Oceans Project (CoOP)urges the public to “clean, dry, and sort” the plastic waste and converts it into “raw materials”.

According to CoOP founder, Anna Varona, cleaned, dried and sorted plastic trash according to the plastic resin code or number can be upcycled into brand-new durable products such as crates, chairs, trash can, trays and more. 

Meanwhile, Mr. Jonathan Co, founder of Sentinels Upcycling Technologies, said that most of the plastics can be upcycled. However, due to poor waste management and improper waste segregation, some plastics are not suitable for recycling.

Varona hopes that this simple clean, dry and sort method “will not only change the consuming behavior of the community but also will make the ocean free again from plastics.

To know more about the “clean, dry and sort” method, watch The Dive’s episode “The Oceans and The Plastics” and see how this method has changed lives. — Maribelle Boral-Cabling

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Sea turtle found dead in Negros Occidental, plastic found in animal’s rectum

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 27, 2019

Courtesy: Bill Kratzer

A sea turtle was found dead by a local resident in Valladolid, Negros Occidental last Tuesday (June 25).

According to Barangay Chairman Bill Kratzer, the turtle had visible damage on its tail and shell. They also found plastics coming out of the animal’s rectum.

The sea turtle was around 3 feet long and about 2 feet wide. There is still no official cause of death.

The sea turtle was buried around 5:00 p.m. on the same day in the area where he was found.—AAC

Trash found littering ocean floor in deepest-ever sub dive

Robie de Guzman   •   May 14, 2019

The boat that carried retired naval officer, Victor Vescovo,
and crew in their exploration in the Pacific Ocean’s Mariana Trench

On the deepest dive ever made by a human inside a submarine, a Texas investor and explorer found something he could have found in the gutter of nearly any street in the world: trash.

The expedition is being filmed for a discovery channel documentary series.

Victor Vescovo, a retired naval officer, said he made the unsettling discovery as he descended nearly 6.8 miles to a point in the Pacific Ocean’s Mariana Trench that is the deepest place on earth.

His dive went 52 feet lower than the previous deepest descent in the trench in 1960.

Vescovo found undiscovered species as he visited places no human had gone before.

On one occasion, he spent four hours on the floor of the trench, viewing sea life ranging from shrimp-like anthropods with long legs and antennae to translucent “sea pigs” similar to a sea cucumber.

He also saw angular metal or plastic objects, one with writing on it.

“It wasn’t completely surprising although it was very disappointing to see obvious human contamination of the deepest point in the ocean,” Vescovo said.

Plastic waste has reached epidemic proportions in the world’s oceans with an estimated 100 million tonnes dumped there to date, according to the United Nations.

Scientists have found large amounts of microplastic in the guts of deep-dwelling ocean mammals like whales.

Vescovo hoped his discovery of trash in the Mariana Trench would raise awareness about dumping in the oceans and pressure governments to better enforce existing regulations, or put new ones in place.

“I think that there are so many regulations that are not enforced or they’re simply not in place. They can control contamination going into the ocean because once it goes into the ocean it’ll be degraded and it’ll flow all over the world because the currents will carry it that way,” Vescovo said.

In the last three weeks, the expedition has made four dives in the Mariana Trench in his submarine, “DSV limiting factor,” collecting biological and rock samples.

It was the third time humans have dived to the deepest point in the ocean, known as challenger deep. (REUTERS)

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