The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) District of Palawan has been proactive in addressing the possible threat of the oil spill from the sunken MT Princess Empress carrying 800,000 liters of industrial fuel oil that sank off the coast of Naujan, Oriental Mindoro, 275 miles from Palawan.
The general public, especially local residents in Palawan may not be very well aware of the negative impacts and effects caused by the sunken oil tanker in nearby province of Mindoro, but helping the oil spill to spread could be our significant contributions to help mitigate its destructive impacts, therefore, preventing ecological disaster and looming health threats.
A week after the vessel sank, the PCG already deployed improvised oil spill booms and other floating barriers in an effort to prevent it from damaging and causing threats to our coastal areas and the local residents. They predicted that if the oil spill fails to be contained it may reach the coastal areas of Araceli, Dumaran, and Cuyo. The PCG also said that residents of Cuyo has been very ingenious by using coconut husks locally known as bunot in removing oil from seawater.
Mindoro island, and its nearby areas are considered as the most affected in this oil spill. But despite that, being an island province close to Mindoro, we should at least be proactive by educating our local residents on how to deal with oil spills.
Oil spill brooms, floating devises are considered as effective and our government already deployed these in strategic areas in Palawan.
Our government agencies should consider the fact that the oil spill has its long term effect to the coastal and marine ecosystem.
One of the steps that needs to take into account as one of the solution, is bioremediation. It is the method of the use of specific microorganisms to remove any toxic or harmful substances. In some areas, they are introducing natural occurring microbes in order to heal contaminated coastal areas like Japan that initiated in 2008 a throwing of Effective Microorganism (EM) mudballs and putting in activated EM into bodies of water during Marine Day celebration which Dr. Teruo Higa in Okinawa, is its brainchild.
The studies showed that Tokyo Bay dramatically changed when they put 2,000 tons to 3,000 tons of activated EM in an effort to purify the sea.
This same technology was adopted in Puerto Princesa City through EM mudballs throwing in the city’s baywalk and within Puerto Princesa Bay. The Office of the City has been conducting this activity, as part of its regular activities in an effort to clean our bay, water bodies and coastal areas.
The natural recovery is considered as the simplest method of addressing oil spill and definitely the most cost-effective method. Constant and close monitoring is needed in this activity to ensure that the oil spill’s destructive impacts and effects to the marine ecosystem and coastal areas have dwindled.