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Editorial | Slow death

The Davao Gulf, according to the WWF-Philippines, is a “breeding and nursery ground for small and large pelagic species, with frequent sightings of whale sharks, dugongs and leatherback turtles, among the list of species cited in the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES). It is also cited as one of the richest “national zones for fish production.”

It goes without saying that its rich marine resources need to be protected to sustain life in the sea and on land. Many towns and cities depend on the harvest of the sea for their daily sustenance and economic activities. But how are we protecting and ensuring the health of our seas?

Once again, Bantay Dagat volunteers shared that an average of 1,200 sacks of garbage were collected from the Davao Gulf each month last year. This is probably just the tip of the proverbial iceberg as we all know that our shores and coastline bear witness to our disregard for the environment, with plastics, cans and all sorts of man-made debris floating around. The deaths of marine mammals almost always points to ingestion of trash as the culprit.

We have brilliant environmental laws that, if implemented and observed by every one, can reverse this trend and make our seas healthier. But through the years, we move ever so slowly in making a difference . Raising awareness on the environment remains a great challenge as Paul Bermejo, Ancillary Services Unit (ASU) chief, expressed yesterday. (see story on page 2).

The aim, Bermejo said, is to reduce garbage at source. We cannot agree more. This requires each and every one of us to change our lifestyle – and we underline the rampant and unmitigated use of plastics. Like all values, this is first taught and learned at home. If we do not teach our children segregation of garbage and its proper disposal, this vicious cycle will never end.

The Davao Gulf is one of the richest zones for fish production. If this will be compromised, we will all suffer the consequence of our wanton disrespect to securing the sustainability of our seas.

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