Oceana Statement on Vessels Dumping Human Waste Into the West Philippine Sea

Press Release Date

July 13, 2021

Oceana strongly condemns the alleged dumping of human waste by hundreds of vessels anchored at the waters off Union Banks or the Pagkakaisa reefs, which form part of the Kalayaan Island Group within the West Philippine Sea. This poses a serious risk to the fisheries and rich biodiversity of our ocean from which the Philippines and its neighboring countries depend on for food.

As a signatory to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) which safeguards against sewage and garbage pollution from ships, the Philippines should begin an investigation on this deplorable abuse of our territorial waters.

We call on the Philippine Coast Guard and the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) to verify this incident and those in other parts of the country together with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), local government units and other agencies. The amended Fisheries Code imposes sanctions on vessels found guilty of aquatic pollution, and the Clean Water Act of 2004 prohibits unauthorized transport or dumping into sea waters of sewage sludge or solid waste.

Under the Clean Water Act of 2004, the DENR is mandated to convene the Management Board in coordination with National Water Resources Board (NWRB), and  designate certain areas as water quality management areas using appropriate physiographic units such as watershed, river basins or water resources regions, such as this case in the West Philippine Sea. Is this being done in the entire country?

For more information, contact:
Joyce Sierra
​Communications Manager, Oceana

Mobile: 09178214430 E-mail: jsierra@oceana.org
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