THE Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR)-Davao assured the public that shellfish, such as green mussels or tahong imported from or exported in the region, are found without traces of microplastics as of the moment.
This comes after Dr. Jose Isagani Janairo of the De La Salle University conducted a study in coordination with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) about the existence of microplastics in the country’s shorelines.
According to a GMA News Online article, the study showed that two out of three areas where the tahong samples were taken tested 100-percent positive for microplastics. The third sample, meanwhile, tested positive for “suspected microplastics.”
However, the researcher did not disclose the areas where the samples were taken.
In a June 19 report by BusinessWorld, BFAR-Davao director Fatma Idris was quoted saying that the study found that the sample from Davao Gulf has no indication of microplastics.
Idris, however, told SunStar Davao in a separate interview that the agency has yet to improve its mechanism in tracing microplastics in their tests.
“Sa ngayon, wala pa naman tayong ginagawa na pagsusuri (As of now, we haven’t conducted any studies about it). But we already made a letter to DOST regarding that procedure kung paano kami mag-avail or paggawa ng analysis because it is costly (if how would we be able to avail of their assistance in tracing these items because having it shipped to them is very costly),” she said.
Idris, meanwhile, said the public should not be worried since the shellfish imported from Jiabong, Samar undergo certification from the Davao City Health Office (CHO).
Idris also said the study should not be disregarded by the consumers as it may pose health hazards to those who would consume shellfish with microplastics.
Although she said further studies should be conducted to ensure so that concerned agencies could do pre-emptive and reactive steps with regard to the problem.
Different environmental groups have been pushing for the banning on single-use plastics as these are being attributed to the proliferation of microplastics, once these are dumped and broken down in the ocean.
In the study, the type of plastic present in the sampled tahongs are Polyethylene or PET which are cited to cause different cancers and infertility.
Interface Development Interventions (Idis) policy advocacy officer Raine Catague said the study would change the public’s consumption on plastics as it is causing environmental hazards both on land and water.
“Mas mapansin naman sa tao ron nga nagkadaghan na ang mga sakit and then minsan, sige ta push for healthy living , not knowing ang mga ginagamit nato nga plastic utensils ang naga-cause og sakit (People are now aware of the health implications of using plastics. We are pushing for healthy living, but the utensils we are using, just like plastic utensils, are the ones causing these diseases),” Catague said.
Idis is one of the non-government organizations (NGOs) pushing for the banning of single-use plastics in the city.
Catague said the group is now finalizing their proposal to be forwarded to the City Council for further deliberation. (RGL)