COAST Guard Marine Environmental Protection Commander Jonie Belarmino on Wednesday morning, January 22, said that the “white substance” spilled into the seashore of Barangay Lower Jasaan, Misamis Oriental was not toxic or hazardous.
According to Belarmino, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has conducted a water sampling the day after the “foamy-white” substance was discharged from a foreign cargo vessel in the waters of Jasaan.
He said the result from the BFAR’s water sampling showed that it passed all the parameters dictated by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
“So hindi talaga siya toxic na spill. Ngayon ang mga dumikit din hinintay namin sya na mag dry kasi kung pilitin namin na tanggalin siya doon sa mga dumikit na maliliit na mangrove, mas magiging worsen yung kalagayan ng mangrove,” Belarmino said.
“Mino-monitor namin everyday yun kung may mga mortality pa ba na nangyayari sa fish cage. So far wala naman,” he added.
Last week, Provincial Board Member Gerardo “Boboy” Sabal was informed by Barangay Lower Jasaan chairman Sabas Tagarda Jr. that at least two fish cages containing milkfish or “bangus” fingerlings were affected by the spill.
However, Belarmino said if there were dead fingerlings, it was tolerable as it is common that there are fingerlings dying in fish cages.
“Ang action ngayon ng coast guard, we are conducting monitor and evaluate everyday doon sa lugar. Nagmo-monitor kami kung may namatay bang isda ulit or wala,” Belarmino said.
At present, Belarmino said they still do not know what kind of chemical the white substance was. However, he said it may possibly be a detergent used by the cargo vessel during its deck wash.
“Yun ang duda natin. So far ngayon hindi pa natin ma conclude na detergent talaga yan. Hindi rin natin ma conclude kung anong klaseng chemicals as long as hindi pa talaga lumabas sa laboratoryo na anong klaseng chemicals yun,” Belarmino said.
He added that even though it may be a detergent, it is still prohibited to dump wastes, in this case the water and detergent used to clean the vessel’s deck, into the sea.