Plastic bag floating around Tubattaha Reefs Natural Park. (Photo courtesy of Giga Songco)

The management of the Tubattaha Reefs Natural Park (TRNP) has called for “responsible consumerism” following the viral photo that surfaced on Facebook showing a plastic reaching the park’s waters.

TRNP superintendent Angelique Songco in a statement made to ABS-CBN said that 80 percent of the marine debris came from other countries based on recent reports of their park rangers.

“’Yong discarded fishing gear mga lubid, mga nets, mga styro po, mga non-biodegradable ang mga iyan. Styrofoam, madaling ma-ingest ng maliliit na creatures kasi nadudurog-durog siya nagiging parang pellets,” Songco said.

A Facebook user expressed disappointment and pointed out that the problem must be addressed by the big corporations that have the “biggest impact” in terms of plastic pollution.

“If we continue pushing the responsibility, nothing works. If [big corporations] come up with an environmental solution, it is more effective than a single consumer who properly manages the waste. [It] is a big corporation with enough funding and resources, why do you blame an innocent consumer?” the user said.

Songco, in an earlier statement to Palawan News, called out to everyone to be more conscious of consumerism, citing how drinking from a plastic cup affects the marine debris that threatens Tubbataha.

“Maybe that was the plastic cup that caused the bird to die dahil naka-sumbrero sa kanya ‘yong cup at hindi siya makahinga or makakain. You contribute the most of it and Tubbataha suffers the most,” Songco said.

Based on a report published by Marine Conservation Philippines, impacts of marine debris affected 663 species in 2012 with over 50% of instances involving entanglement in and ingestion of plastics reaching our seas. This can cause significant injury to marine life, and in any case, can lead to death through infection, starvation, and toxication.

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is a desk editor and senior reporter of Palawan News. He covers politics, environment, tourism, justice, and sports. In his free time, he enjoys long walks with his dog, Bayani.