Sunday, August 20, 2006

Tarnished Beauty

I haven't been to Guimaras but I've seen how beautiful it is on photos.

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It's a pity that its beauty has been tarnished by the recent onslaught of oil spill.

The M/V Solar I, an oil tanker chartered by Petron, the country's largest oil refinier sank in the area of Guimaras Island, Philippines. The oil tanker was said to be carrying 2.4 million litres of oil, headed for Mindanao.

I've learned how devasting an oil spill can be to the local marine and coastal ecosystem. Fishermen and their families are hardly hit by such a catastrophe because fishing boats are normally grounded until authorities declare it safe to go fishing again.

I've seen news footages of the oil spill and I was shocked to see the extent of the damages. In one particular village, the walls of some houses were splattered in oil. The shore was a vision of black ebb and flow. It's terrible to think how much of the marine life has been terminated and remain in peril because of the accident.

Authorities claim that it could take months or even years to clean up an oil spill. The long clean up period is a reflection on how ill-prepared our country is for a disaster like this.

I just hope that the government will hold true to its promise to help the citizens of Guimaras especially the fishermen find alternative sources of livelihood until the sea is cleared of pollutants. I also hope that Petron will face their responsibilities to those affected.

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