Ocean acidiification can trigger algal bloom

THE ALLURING BEAUTY OF BORACAY. Local and foreign tourists frolic in the white sands of the famous Boracay beach while others could not resist but to swim in the waters unmindful of the presence of the green-algae that abounds from end to end. The water along the long beach remains safe for swimming based on the result of water sampling conducted by the DENR-EMB. As observed, the green algae occurs during the months of February to June and will eventually disappear starting the month of September bringing back to its natural beauty of being the best tropical white beach in the world.

 

Global warming has a significant impact on our marine ecosystem. The continued rise of carbon dioxide presence in the atmosphere triggers ocean acidification which augments the growth of diatoms and algae. 

Yoshihisa Shirayama, Executive Director for Research of Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology made the presentation during the Asia Pacific Economic Conference (APEC) Meeting at the Crown Regency Hotel and Convention Center on May 9.

Boracay Island is hosting several high-profile meetings from May 9 to 24. The series of meetings include topics concerning tourism, environment, and marine and coastal protection, among others.

In his report, Shirayama shared that high carbon dioxide presence in the atmosphere resulted to ocean acidification hugely affecting marine ecosystem – one of which is the occurrence of algae in shores.

The algal bloom in Boracay Island can be attributed to this phenomenon, though it could not be discounted that it may have triggered by poor waste management from resorts, other business establishments and residents in the island.

According to Shirayama, those directly affected (which he referred to as “losers”) are shells, snails, abalones, clams, oysters, scallops, sea urchins, sea stars, brittle stars, calcareous phytoplankton, and reef building corals. The report added that the “maybe losers” are fishes, shrimps, and crabs; and, the “winners” are algae, sea grasses, diatoms and soft corals.

Prior to this, Sampulna had already instructed all field offices in the region with coastal areas to immediately report presence of green algae, if there are any, considering that this is a global phenomenon.

Green algae are also observed in other areas in the region, he said.

Earlier, DENR Secretary Ramon JP Paje has ordered to conduct an inventory of resorts and other commercial establishments to check on their compliance to the environmental rules and laws, particularly on waste water management.

Resort owners, business operators and residents in the island, however, maintained that the algal bloom in the famous white beach is seasonal and a natural occurrence during the summer season mainly during the months of February to June, and eventually disappear starting September.


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DENR Sec wants Panay to be the country's Bamboo Capital

Seeing the potential of Panay Island to grow healthy bamboos, DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu proposed the possibility of making Panay Island the as country’s Bamboo Capital.

“We will adopt the latest technology in producing lumber and timber out of bamboo stands. This can usher inclusive development in the island and provide income and livelihood not only to the marginal farmers, and promote Panay as the country’s bamboo capital,” Secretary Cimatu said during the National Convergence Iniative for Sustainable Rural Development held in Iloilo City.

Secretary Cimatu hopes to pursue bamboo plantation in the same way which the National Greening Program (NGP) is being implemented. He saw its potential of mitigating the impacts of climate change. Indeed, bamboo forests serve as carbon sink while producing oxygen as well.

Its environmental benefits include being a natural control for soil erosion, regulate water levels in watersheds, conserve biodiversity and beautify the landscape, to mention a few.

To help this materialize, DENR Region 6 Regional Executive Director Francisco E. Milla, Jr. had conceptualized the following activities as an initial steps in achieving this goal; conduct of regionwide validation for potential sites for Bamboo Plantation; establishment of pilot nurseries for bamboo; conduct capability building, including cross visit to expose the participants on bamboo industries existing plantations; and to identify potential sites for bamboo processing plant for engineered bamboo products.

Anent this, the region will host the 5-day 1st ASEAN Bamboo Congress for Climate Change Adaptation Towards Environmental Sustainability and Economic Resiliency to be held in Iloilo City on August 12 to 16, 2019.

The activity aims to provide a venue for an international forum for the exchange of information and updates among researchers, academe, policy makers, private and public individuals on bamboo and sustainable environmental strategies within the ASEAN region.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources –Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (DENR-ERDB) will spearhead this and will be expecting local, national and international participants.

“This Bamboo Congress is timely for the instruction of Secretary Cimatu to make the Panay Island the Bamboo Capital of the Philippines. This will help the people to further enhance and expand their knowledge on what are the benefits the bamboo will give us aside from being one of the oxygen-givers in this planet,” DENR 6 RED Milla said.

One on Secretary Cimatu’s ten point agenda is the Enhanced National Greening Program (E-NGP) which not only focuses on the greening of the environment, but also to generate livelihood program for those involve and at the same time boosts the country’s economy by means of selling local products.

 

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