by Joevic Baclayanto & Aprille Juanillo | Editor-in-Chief & News Editor
“The problem with microplastics is that we have found out that on the surface of microplastics are persistent organic pollutants . . . they concentrate these toxic compounds on their surfaces… this is what ends up going into our food for that matter, into our water,” said Visiting Scientist Dr. Jorge Augustin Emmanuel of the Silliman University Institute of Environmental and Marine Sciences at the Visayas launching of #CleanSeas Pilipinas at Silliman University July 9.
#CleanSeas Pilipinas is a campaign to raise public awareness against the growing problem of marine litter and the danger caused by plastics in Philippine seas.
The Philippines ranks third among countries that contribute to half of the world’s plastic waste in the oceans, next to China and Indonesia.
Emmanuel explained that Silliman University is working to measure the plastic found in seafood, making it as a baseline for experiments.
“We can compare our results now and 20 years from now and I’m hoping there will be less plastic than more,” he added.
Moreover, he revealed that the university is trying to get the city to reinforce and re-implement the city ordinance 231 from 2011 which bans single use plastic bags and Styrofoam.
Apart from this, he also mentioned that Silliman University will be holding a meeting led by Dr. Betty McCann towards a zero-waste university.
#CleanSeas Pilipinas targets four sectors including the private sector, the local government units, the schools, and of course the communities.
Also present at the launch were Professor Emeritus Dr. Angel C. Alcala, National Scientist; Dr. Hilconida P. Calumpong, Director of the Institute of Environmental and Marine Sciences; and Dr. Earl Jude Paul L. Cleope, Vice President for Academic Affairs.
Dr. Alcala said the cooperation of local communities is important in this campaign. “Include the local communities; you see the local communities which we organized since the 1970’s are the major factors why we have now 1,600 marine protected areas,” in the country and three in Dumaguete.
Representative from different sectors gave their pledge of commitment to the campaign, including DENR Region VII, PENRO Negros Oriental, BFAR Region VII, Province of Negros Oriental, Dumaguete City, Amlan, Silliman University-Institute of Environmental and Marine Sciences, Negros Oriental State University, St. Paul University, Foundation University , War on Waste-Break Free from Plastic (Negros Oriental), Marine Conservation Philippines, Large Marine Vertebrate Research Institute Philippines, Oceana Philippines, Rare Philippines ZSL Philippines, and CORA.