Editorial: Rational plan needed-A A +A
Friday, August 23, 2013
IT'S about time to put order into current efforts to clean the coastlines of Cordova town and Lapu-Lapu City of the oil slick that drifted into the said areas from M/V St. Thomas Aquinas, which sank last Aug. 16 after colliding with cargo ship M/V Sulpicio Express Siete.
It’s not enough that people are volunteering to join the cleanup efforts. The activity should be done properly to ensure that the spread of the oil spill waste would be minimized and the health of the volunteers and residents in the affected areas would be protected.
Moreover, the concern should not be limited to containing the spread of the oil slick and cleaning up the contaminated shorelines but also in disposing properly the black waste. The worst thing to happen is for the “cleaners” to merely transfer the contamination to inland sites.
Reports about Capitol employees swarming to the coast of Barangay Poblacion in Cordova, some of them not wearing protective gears, is worrisome. Then there’s the question of whether any entity coordinated the efforts of volunteers not only from the Capitol but also from other local government units and from non-government organizations.
Coordination is important to maximize the time volunteers spend in the area and to ensure tasks won’t overlap.
And while the damage brought by the oil slick is being closely monitored especially by concerned government agencies like the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (Bfar), how the oil and oil debris gathered by the cleanup are being disposed is not given enough importance.
This should be a concern because materials are being gathered to contain the spread of oil, from human hair to used clothing, even discarded mattresses and spare linens.
Once these absorb the oil, they become waste that need to be disposed of properly.
Have the government designated dumping areas for these materials and other wastes produced by the oil spill? What process of disposal is being used? Will segregation and recycling be involved? How safe will the process be to both humans and the environment?
These questions are being raised to push concerned government agencies to put up a rational plan to deal with the oil spill and its effects. Doing things in a haphazard manner is not the way to go as this will only worsen the problem.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 23, 2013.