A marine biology expert calls on the public to be responsible in managing domestic wastes before it’s too late to save the country’s marine resources.
Last week, a 14-year old juvenile whale shark was washed ashore in Tagum City.
After the necropsy conducted on the mammal’s corpse, Davao-based American marine biologist and bone collector Darrel Blatchley discovered found several pieces of plastic in the marine creature’s stomach like cups and wrappers.
Blatchley assured that the ingestion of these pieces of plastic caused the marine animal’s death.
“Basically they swam on the ocean they open their mouth and just filter everything to their gills…Unfortunately, in the case of this one, there were plastic cups that got stuck in the gills. There were candy wrappers …plastic debris that was plugging up their gills, also filling up their stomach,” Blatchley said.
Upon learning of the animal’s bitter end, Blatchley called on the public to help protect the environment especially the bodies of water like lakes, rivers, and oceans.
Whale sharks, which grow up to 40-feet long and up to hundreds of years, are now considered endangered.
Blatchley emphasized that their participation is vital in maintaining balance in the marine ecosystem by providing fertilizer on the seabed.
“They’re controlling everything. The ecosystem has a balance that keeps the other species in balance. Sharks, they eat the sick and the dying one so they are the garbage collectors,” explained Blatchley.
Based on a study conducted by the Ocean Conservancy and the McKinsey Center for Business and Environment, the Philippines is among the five countries in Asia that dispose of plastic wastes direct to the ocean.
Blatchley hopes such death of an important marine creature will be prevented in the future. He calls for a strict waste management system and responsible waste disposal among Filipinos.– Janice Ingente / Marje Pelayo
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