D’BONE Collector Museum president curator Darrel Blatchley said that in the last 10 years, 61 dead marine mammals were recovered in the coasts of Davao Region.
He said 57 died due to ingestion of plastic fishing nets, dynamite fishing, or ingestion of plastic wastes.
Blatchley was the expert who looked into the death of a juvenile male Curvier Beaked Whale that was found dead along the coastline of Barangay Cadunan, Mabini, Compostela Valley.
He conducted a necropsy on the whale where they found some 40 kilograms of plastics inside its body.
The Davao Gulf is known to have 18 species of whales and dolphins. With 61 dying along the coastline in the last ten years, it is enough for us to be alarmed over the environmental status of the gulf. The 61 also do not include other marine animals like the whale shark (butanding) and sea turtles (pawikan).
Swift action is needed by the government, both national and local, to save these precious marine animals.
The local government units (LGUs) in Davao Gulf must strengthen their environmental protection and conservation laws. Blatchley underscored that while there are existing laws, these are either not properly implemented or have “no teeth.”
New laws and programs can also be enacted to make it more relevant to the current times.
Regulations on the use of single-use plastics can be crafted to reduce the number of plastics going into the sea. Strengthening solid waste management is also one way to ensure that garbage is properly disposed of.
An effective information and education campaign can also be initiated immediately considering that the story on the dead whale is still fresh in people’s minds.
As Dabawenyos, what we can do is to be more environmentally conscious of our actions and what we use. We are still part of the problem if we do not practice a greener and environmentally-friendly lifestyle.
The sea is not only a food source or something that we can attract tourist with. The sea is also home to a variety of sea animals. If we do not act fast they could lose their home. Once they lose their home, we could lose them too.