A recent study on marine plastics pollution conducted by scientists and researchers based at the Western Philippines University (WPU) has described Puerto Princesa City beaches as “heavily contaminated” by plastic trash, and ranked their classification based on accepted international standards as “dirty to extremely dirty.”
Dr. Hernando Bacosa of the WPU College of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences presented his study Monday in an online symposium organized by the university and Blue Communities-Philippines.
Bacosa said the study was conducted by setting up transects along the opposite coastlines of the city – the populated eastern coast facing the Sulu Sea and the least populated western coast facing the West Philippine Sea and observing the accumulation of plastics in 22 sampling sites spanning some 153 kilometers.
“Seventy five percent of Puerto Princesa beaches can be classified as ‘dirty and extremely dirty’. We need to do something about it. We need to do something to keep our beaches and coastal areas clean,” Bacosa said.
Bacosa also noted that nylon fishing lines and discarded fishing paraphernalia comprised the majority of the plastic garbage present in the least populated western coast of the city, accounting for 47 percent. Conversely, plastic wrappers and other food packaging dominated the trash on the eastern coast where urban settlements are present.
“We can see indiscriminate disposal of fishing lines, and it is not surprising that almost 50 percent of plastic waste are fishing lines, while 5 percent were found to be styrofoams used for fishing,” he said, describing the west coast.
Bacosa added that even the coastal area of Sabang Beach in Barangay Cabayugan is considered dirty, based on the internationally adopted Clean Coast Index (CCI) classification.
“The northern part of the west coast is dirty to extremely dirty. We can only find the cleaner areas in the southern part and these are not the residential areas. Plastic bags and plastic bottles just about 6 percent, while 47 percent are nylon,” Bacosa said.
Bacosa noted that the Philippines is the 3rd biggest contributor of marine plastics, next to China and Indonesia which he noted are far bigger countries with more expanded coastlines.
“We believe that Palawan, the Last Frontier, is under threat of plastic litter. Something must be done to protect our remaining natural environment,” he said.