CCC pitches moves vs. e-waste

(CCC logo grabbed from climate.gov.ph)

MANILA – The Climate Change Commission (CCC) is recommending measures to address the growing problem of discarded electrical and electronic equipment in the Philippines, one of Southeast Asia’s top generators of this e-waste.

Government must develop a national policy and regulatory framework on e-waste management, said CCC Vice Chairperson and Executive Director Emmanuel de Guzman.

He is also recommending formulation of a national strategy and action plan for institutionalizing e-waste recycling and collection.

There’s need to likewise undertake relevant research and technology development aside from stopping illegal entry of hazardous e-waste into the country, he continued.

“Electronic gadgets become waste when their usefulness ends, causing an environmental problem locally and globally,” he said in his 2020 International E-Waste Day message on Wednesday (Oct. 14).

Experts warned that while e-waste contains materials that are still usable, such trash also has elements harmful to health, the environment and climate.

De Guzman raised urgency for action, noting global e-waste already ballooned to nearly 54 million metric tonnes (MT) last year.

That’s 21 percent more than the global e-waste level in 2014, he noted Launched earlier this year, UN’s ‘The Global E-Waste Monitor 2020’ report estimates e-waste generated worldwide will already exceed 74 million MT by 2030.

Higher consumption of electrical and electronic equipment, as well as short life cycle of and limited repair options for these, will likely fuel such increase, the report warned.

According to the report, the Philippines is among Southeast Asia’s top e-waste generators.

It said the Philippines generated 3.9 kg of e-waste per capita last year but still lacks either national legislation, policy or regulation specifically on e-waste although the country already set regulations on hazardous waste.

Such regulations cover e-waste which is considered as hazardous, the report noted.

De Guzman said CCC acknowledges different sectors’ efforts to help address the growing e-waste in the country.

“CCC lauds efforts of various stakeholders to raise awareness on the critical role of consumer electronic purchasing and recycling decisions in dealing with the growing problem of e-waste,” he said.

He said public-private sector collaboration on the matter is vital in addressing the e-waste challenge.

“Cooperation among government and private business and manufacturers and consumers in driving innovations, and transition of sectors into a circular economy, are key to climate resilience and sustainable future of the Filipino nation,” he said.

Circular economy is an economic system focused on sustainably using resources as long as possible to help minimize waste.

Such system is an alternative to the traditional linear economy of making, using and disposing products.

E-waste is also called waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), a term mainly used in Europe.

In April 2002, six WEEE producers with operations in Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland founded the organization called WEEE Forum.

The organization aims to be the center of excellence in environmentally sound and efficient solutions for electronic waste collection, logistics and processing.

Around 40 WEEE producer responsibility organizations from various countries worldwide already comprise the organization.

WEEE Forum in 2018 came up with International E-Waste Day to raise public awareness about and action on e-waste. (PNA)

Antiporda apologizes to UP over ‘bayaran’ remark

DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda

MANILA – Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Undersecretary Benny Antiporda has apologized to the University of the Philippines-Marine Science Institute (UP-MSI) over his remark where he branded them “bayaran (paid hack).”

“First of all, let me start this statement with an apology to UP as a whole. I’m emotionally carried away yesterday and I don’t think it’s fair for the UP people who are really working hard for our countrymen and marami pa rin naman nagtatrabaho jan na pro bono (there are still many people there who are working pro bono),” Antiporda said during an interview over CNN Philippines on Thursday.

Antiporda said he was just affected by the issue with UP-MSI.

He said the DENR and the UP-MSI have been partners for a long time and that the agency has been paying the institute for their services like consultation, research, and capacity building.

Laura David, director of UP-MSI, accepted the apology.

“There’s always been a good cooperative collaboration between the UP MSI and DENR. This was just a miscommunication and now that everything has been cleared there’s no problem to work with them again,” David said.

Antiporda said he feels that it would have been more appropriate if the UP-MSI called the DENR’s attention regarding their observations and suggestions on the Manila Bay rehabilitation project instead of going straight to the media.

David, meanwhile, said they did not go straight to the press.

She said they published their observations on their own website where the media picked it up.

Antiporda said UP-MSI did not publish anything on their website during the time that they entered into a contract with the DENR and agreed to receive some PHP210-million payment for their services.

He said a good partner should be open to one another and directly communicate with each other.

“This is to send them a message telling them na partners po tayo with MSI siguro naman nung kasalukuyang nagbabayad kami ng malaking halaga eh nagagawa nyo kaming tawagan at nagagawa nyong sulatan kami. Bakit ngayon eh diretso sa media (We are partners with MSI and during the time that we are paying them a huge amount of money, they were able to call us or write us a letter, but why is it that they go directly to the media now?),” said Antiporda.

With regards to the suggestion of the UP-MSI on planting mangroves around the Manila Bay area, David said they were not referring to the Manila Bay beach but rather in areas around it.

“Mangroves act as a filter. Meron sa kadulu-duluhan ng Pasig River there is a mangrove stand (there is a mangrove stand at the far end part of the Pasig River) but most mangroves are either in Cavite and Bulacan,” David said.

Antiporda said the UP-MSI seem to have a lot of catching up to do with the developments accomplished by the DENR.

He said the agency built a sewage treatment plant (STP) in the bay walk area and is poised to build other STPs to help improve the water quality in the bay.

As regards to the mangroves, he said DENR-NCR has already built a mangrove area in Baseco area in Manila.

Antiporda also assured the UP-MSI that the DENR is doing its job. (PNA)

18-foot saltwater crocodile captured in Tawi-Tawi

One of the residents playfully rests on the back of the 18-foot crocodile apparently exhausted after securing the creature by tying a rope around its snout to avoid causing harm to people.

By Glen Ramos

Residents of Tawi-Tawi caught the social media by storm following the capture of an 18-foot saltwater crocodile along the coastal shores of Simunul in the province on October 14, 2020, at around 4 p.m.

Photos of the crocodile surfaced on the internet since then and today through Facebook users Grace Nuka and Krystian Amri Mufti who first shared the magnificent pictures of the creature through their respective FB accounts.

According to Facebook posts of other residents, the creature was brought to the local government of Simunul and will then be turned over to the local tourism office.

The residents helped secure the animal by tying a rope around its mouth in an effort to prevent it from causing any harm to people.

It was later loaded into a truck and was brought to the care of the local government.

The Balabac Island Groups, which is located at the southernmost tip of Palawan, holds the greatest number of crocodiles and crocodile attacks in the country.

The latest incident was that of a 30-year old local named Boyet Cayao, resident of Sitio Sebaring 2, Barangay Sebaring, Balabac in June 2020.

According to a report of the local government, the victim sustained 22 bite marks on his legs and other parts of the body. He was just about to go up the stairs when the crocodile grabbed him.

According to the Crocodylus Porosus Philippines Inc. (CPPI), there is an estimated wild crocodile population of 519 non-hatchlings in 2019.

Non-hatchlings mean that crocodiles can already compete with other predator and are not prone to environmental stress.

Crocodile is a large predatory semiaquatic reptile with long jaws, long tail, short legs, and a horny textured skin, using submersion and stealth to approach prey unseen. Its skin is very valuable and used as leather for shoes, jackets and bags.

The longest and largest crocodile on record was “Lolong” who was caught in Bunawan creek in the province of Agusan del Sur in the Philippines on September 3, 2011.

Lolong was a saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) measuring 6.17 meters or 20 feet 3 inches from snout to tail and weighed 1,075 kilograms. He died on February 10, 2013, in captivity.

Inline image

The 18-ft long crocodile caught yesterday along the shore of Simunul in Tawi-Tawi is being lifted by residents away from the water.

Inline image

A man secures the tail of the 18-ft long crocodile with a rope as the animal was hauled on a truck, to be brought to local government officials in Simunul, Tawi-Tawi on October 14, 2020.

(Photos grabbed from the facebook accounts of Grace Nuka and Krystian Amri Mufti)   

Environment chief Cimatu, CJ Peralta inspect Manila Bay beach rehab

Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu and Supreme Court Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta jointly inspect Thursday the extent of rehabilitation works in Manila Bay beach with crushed dolomite rocks. DENR Usec. Benny Antiporda told the working media to treat the rehab project with caution in reporting as work on the dolomite beach has not yet been fully turned-over by the contractor to the government. Antiporda also made it clear there is no truth to the report Tropical Depression washed out the dolomite beach rather, Manila Bay’s original black sand was only washed in by strong waves courtesy of the inclement weather. 

Jhun Mabanag / BENJAMIN CUARESMA

Oslob’s whale shark eco-tourism business faces possible closure

By Tracy Cabrera

Tourists have been flocking to Oslob in southern Cebu to interact with whale sharks, the coastal town’s main attraction.

While tourism is booming, environmentalists are concerned after a study found that Oslob’s whale sharks, locally known as ‘butanding’, are harmed by their close contact with fishermen and diving enthusiasts.

If things go on as they are, we might as well say goodbye to the whale sharks of Oslob as more and more of the endangered behemoths frequenting the small coastal town in Cebu have been injured and scarred due to activities linked to wildlife tourism, according to a study that looked into the impact of tourism on the largest fish species in the world.

At least 95 percent of the giant sharks, scientifically named as Rhincodon typus) have been observed to sustain extensive injuries and these has caused them to avoid the area hence their scarcity to whale watchers.

In reaction, researchers from the Large Marine Vertebrates Research Institute of the Philippines (LaMaVe) underscored the urgent need to implement proper management interventions to ensure that tourism activities would not harm the whale sharks, also locally known as butanding.

The research analyzed several photographs of 152 individual whale sharks off the coast of Cebu, which were taken from March 2012 to January 2015.

These photos were used to monitor their presence and identify scars on their bodies and the accumulation of their injuries.

Research findings showed that the butanding often found swimming in Oslob’s coastal waters had significantly more injuries compared to other populations studied in Australia, Mozambique and the Seychelles, where whale shark feeding is prohibited.

Oslob, located in the southern portion of Cebu, is among the most popular areas in the country for whale shark watching.

Conservationists have repeatedly called for the stop of provisioning, or feeding, of whale sharks, which locals do to provide guaranteed wildlife encounters to tourists.

Researchers said that abrasions were the most common type of scar seen in the posterior flank, upper caudal fin and the dorsal and pectoral fins of the whale sharks, and these were most likely due to close contact with ropes and small boats at the feeding site.

The study also noted several lacerations on a number of the fish, which were caused by boat propellers.

The injuries, it said, could be due to the whale sharks’ tendency to come close to boats as the locals practiced hand-feeding to ensure tourist interactions, as well as the increased number of motorized vessels in their habitat.

Moreover, LaMaVe disclosed that the giant sharks are being fed with shrimp daily and this alters their natural migratory and foraging behaviors.

In a separate study, marine experts also from LaMaVe discovered that resident whale sharks have been spending six times longer at the ocean’s surface when at the feeding site in Oslob, exposing them to high water temperatures that could affect their overall health and welfare.

Since whale sharks are ectotherms, meaning they depend on the temperature of water columns to regulate body temperature, the change in their natural behavior indicated that they would need to dive to deeper and colder waters to compensate for the prolonged periods they spend in warmer and shallower waters off Barangay Tan-awan, also in Oslob.

“Scars and wounds, even when nonlethal, may pose a serious risk to these endangered species, increasing the physiological stress of the animals, facilitating the contraction of diseases carried by pathogens, like virus and bacteria, and decreasing overall the health of the affected individuals,” LaMaVe said.

In conclusion, LaMaVe’s Luke Penketh said that their study showed evidence of the “negative physical impacts” of tourism activities on whale sharks in Oslob, highlighting the need for change in the management of the tourism area.

“We recommend the strict enforcement of a minimum distance between boats and sharks, a zero-contact policy during interactions, the expansion of the provisioning site, and the implementation of a no-boat-access zone around the perimeter of the provisioning site to mitigate potential collisions,” the researchers ended saying. (ia)