Communities around oil spill-hit areas of Oriental Mindoro prepare to keep grease at bay
MANILA, Philippines — Local communities around areas suffering from the effects of an oil spill in Oriental Mindoro are getting ready for the worst, starting with improvised booms which they make to fend off the slick.
“Coastal municipalities not affected by the oil spill have started fabricating and deploying spill booms two kilometers away from their shorelines as a precaution against the spill,” the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said in a statement Tuesday.
The DENR described booms as “temporary floating barriers” against oil spills. Imalaguan Island in Cuyo, Palawan, which has a marine protected area, has already deployed a 100-meter boom to protect itself from the oil spill
To date, the oil spill that ensued after MT Princess Empress sank off Naujan town in Oriental Mindoro on February 28 has already reached the island town of Caluya in Antique and the Municipality of Taytay in Palawan.
According to the DENR, the improvised booms are made from materials such as cogon, sawali, coconut shingles, and rice straws.
“The use of improvised spill booms is a feasible precautionary measure to prevent damage to marine environments. These booms are made from indigenous materials which are readily accessible to the immediate communities,” it said.
The DENR also said that in cooperation with the local government of Caluya and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), a 1,363-meter improvised containment boom was set up to prevent the oil from further reaching the town’s shores.
Oriental Mindoro Gov. Humerlito Dolor, however, asserted that the booms were not enough to solve the problem.
READ: ‘Don’t hide truth’: Oriental Mindoro governor says oil spill booms ‘not enough’
“Commodore, we have talked. You said that you have spill booms. But why do the people have to create temporary spill booms? Because you do not have enough,” Dolor told PCG Deputy Commandant for Operations Vice Admiral Rolando Punzalan Jr. during a Senate inquiry into the Oriental Mindoro oil spill.
Several localities have already been placed under a state of calamity because of the oil spill, which threatens marine resources and adversely affects livelihood of fisherfolks.
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