Ecological catastrophe: oil spill cleanup in the Philippines
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Residents in a central Philippine province hit by an oil spill from a sunken oil tanker use buckets and mugs to help authorities contain environmental damage.
Donning personal protective equipment and masks, residents of the town of Pola in Mindoro East, with the help of a crew from the Philippine Coast Guard, are collecting oil-soaked trash and wiping thick deposits from the rocks along the coast.
"Here in our area, the oil is very thick and the smell is strong. There is so much oil that we feel sick if we don't wear protective gear. Many feel bad because of the stench”, — said local resident Maribel Famadiko, 34, as she and other volunteers cleaned up along the shore.
Philippine authorities said Monday they believe they have found a tanker that sank last week off Mindoro East, and that they plan to use the ROV to determine its exact location.
The MT Princess Empress is believed to be under water at a depth of about 366 meters, near the province of Oriental Mindoro, although this information still needs to be verified, according to the Ministry of the Environment.
The vessel was carrying about 800,000 liters of industrial fuel oil when his engine failed during a storm on February 28.
Volunteers say it will likely take days to clear the shore and rocks of oil.
< br /> “Oil is coming back with the tide. Yesterday we cleared this area, but today it has become larger again, — said Famadiko.
Marine scientists from the University of the Philippines said that about 36,000 hectares of coral reefs, mangroves and algae could potentially be affected by the oil slick.
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