MANILA — How badly will the oil spill caused by the sinking of the MT Princess Empress hurt Philippine marine ecosystems?
Speaking on TeleRadyo, Dr. Irene Rodriguez of the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute (UP-MSI) said the tragedy would hurt food sources of Filipinos.
“May impact ito sa photosynthetic organisms na nasa surface ng water column. Okay, so hindi sila makakapag-photosynthesize, at alam nating lahat na ang photosynthetic organisms, these are the base of the food chain,” Rodriguez said.
“So up the food chain, meron itong epekto at eventually makakaapekto ito sa source ng ating isda at iba pang organisms na ginagamit natin bilang pagkain,” she explained.
(This will have an impact on photosynthetic organisms on the surface of the water column. They can't photosynthesize, and they are at the base of the food chain. So up the food chain, this will have an impact on the food sources of fish and other organisms that humans use as food.)
She also noted that the oil spill could kill the eggs that fish have released into the water.
The expert also said the oil spill could kill marine ecosystems if it comes close to the shore.
“Pag dumating ang oil slick at mapunta ito sa ating coast…sa beaches or mapunta ito sa ating mga bakawan, magiging mas malala yung epekto nito kasi aside from causing death to organisms or loss of movement in some of our marine organisms, ito rin ay, it will change…yung ecology,” she said.
(When the oil slick comes to our coats, our beaches and mangroves, it will be worse for us because aside from causing death to organisms or loss of movement in some of our marine organisms, it will change the ecology.)
Rodriguez noted that mangroves and sea grass perform important ecological functions like preventing erosion and coastal protection.
“They are very important in…fixing the carbon dioxide from the air and ginagawa nilang parte ng katawan nila and yun ay importante sa pagkontrol ng ating climate (they make it part of their body, which is important for climate control), and other than that...ito ay nursery grounds and also habitats ng critical members of our marine ecosystems,” she added.
Rodriguez said it is good that authorities have now located the sunken tanker, which was carrying carrying 800,000 liters of industrial oil.
“Yung may-ari ng vessel mismo ay nakipag-coordinate na sa dalawang commercially--private companies, to do the cleanup,” she said.
“So hopefully, it will be treated near the point source, yung oil slick para mas mabawasan yung volume ng oil na makakarting sa ating coastal environments,” she added.
(The vessel owner is working with 2 private companies to do the cleanup. Hopefully, it will be treated near the point source before it can reach the coastal environments.)