140 sacks of foreign plastic trash collected from El Nido lagoon
The trash was mostly plastic bottles of foreign origin that found their way into Secret Lagoon on Miniloc Island, a popular tourist destination in El Nido.
A Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) official said the waste was carried by ocean currents made stronger by monsoon rains that hit Palawan province recently.
Henry Adornado, DENR regional director, said 60 to 70 percent of the plastic bottles were from Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan, China and Japan.
“While it is clear that the garbage found [was] not from the local community, this only reminds us that the ocean is now bringing back the garbage that we, humans, have dumped into it,” said Adornado, who heads the Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan) office of the DENR, in a statement.
He said heavy rainfall and strong winds were likely to have contributed to strong ocean currents that carried the waste to El Nido.
“We believe these came from other places across the ocean because of the marks that are found [on] the bottles,” he said.
The discovery of the ocean debris last week prompted local officials to organize a cleanup drive involving mostly owners and workers of local tourist establishments and members of the Philippine Coast Guard.
In a report to the El Nido-Taytay Managed Resource Protected Area, the DENR said plastic bottles of foreign brands not sold in the Philippines made up 70 percent of the collected debris.
Apart from plastic bottles, also among the debris were Styrofoam, rubber scraps, plastic wrappers, nylon and ropes.
El Nido Mayor Nieves Rosento said in a statement that the town had a local ordinance that regulated the use of plastics as food and drink containers.
The ordinance is being heeded by local tour operators who bring tourists to island destinations in the area, including Miniloc Island.
Rosento said the municipal government had been “adamant” in enforcing the local law that regulated the use of cellophane, plastic bags and Styrofoam as containers and promoting the use of eco-friendly materials.
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