UP expert: ‘Leave mangroves alone’

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Thursday, December 5, 2013

AN EXPERT from the University of the Philippines (UP) urged officials to leave the mangroves alone, despite the oil surrounding it in Estancia, Iloilo.

Expert scientist Dr. Rex Sadaba said the mangroves will eventually grow on its own despite the oil surrounding it.

“Definitely no rubbing of the mangroves, no clean-up of the mangroves as the trees will survive on its own. Stop touching it as it will do more harm to the mangroves,” Sadaba said.

The mangroves were affected by the leak of more than 200,000 liters of bunker oil from Power Barge Number 3 of the National Power Corporation, which was devastated by super typhoon Yolanda last November 8, 2013.

In a briefing on December 5 with the Cabinet officials headed by Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, Sadaba said the best solution is still to scoop out the oil from the water and land affected by the slick.

Roxas and the Cabinet officials visited the oil spill site in Barangay Botongon, Estancia and the nearby villages including six coastal villages in the town of Batad, Iloilo.

Sadaba cautioned against the use of rice stalks or “dagami” being placed on top of the floating oil spill, as these only add to the pollution.

“Dagami is being used only to wipe the oil, but not to add to water pollution,” he said.

The power barge was dislodged from its mooring site and ran aground at the rocky shoreline. It sustained holes at the bottom hull and spilled the bunker the oil. Some 150,000 liters were washed ashore while 50,000 liters spread on water surface. Some 1.2 million liters are still at the fuel tanks of the power barge and being transferred to another container.

The Department of Health (DOH) ordered an evacuation of some 2,000 families at the spilt site following reports of toxic odor that caused children to get sick.

The families are now at the tent city evacuation center at the Northern Iloilo Polytechnic State College in Estancia.

Local news

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