Scientists recognize the Philippine archipelago as the world's
centre of marine biodiversity, but the country's rich marine
ecosystem is severely threatened by pollution from diverse
"The oceans give our planet life but in return we are emptying
them of fish, heating them with climate change, and filling them
with toxics pollution," said Von Hernandez, Greenpeace Southeast
Asia Campaign Director. "In the Philippines, we find some of our
important marine ecosystems suffocating from pollution from
industries, sewage, and trash. Millions of Filipinos depend on
these marine resources for survival, yet we are destroying them at
an alarming rate."
This is the Esperanza's maiden voyage to the Philippines, in a
journey that started from an action packed face-off with Japanese
whalers in the Southern Oceans, to chasing pirate fishers in West
Africa. The Defending Our Oceans expedition aims for the
establishment of a global network of marine reserves, where 40
percent of the world's oceans is protected from exploitation.
In the Philippines, Greenpeace will campaign against plastics
pollution in Manila Bay and draw attention to the damage being
caused by Australian mining firm Lafayette's toxic spills in the
marine ecosystem of the South Eastern tip of Luzon. The Esperanza
will also highlight the country's successful implementation of a
community-managed marine reserve in Apo Island, which now provides
food and income to the host community, and will help promote it as
a model for marine reserves worldwide.
The waters of the Philippines are home to over four hundred
species of coral, more than two thousand fish species and are an
important area for marine mammals, sea turtles, sharks and rays,
including the whale shark --the world's biggest fish. However, a
scientific study (1) lists the Philippines as the most highly
threatened centre of unique marine species, citing the danger of
mass extinction in a scale similar to that of the destruction of
the Brazilian rainforests.
"The Philippine government acknowledges habitat degradation,
pollution, and destructive fishing as among the most pressing
threats facing the country's marine ecosystems," added Hernandez.
"Yet the government's clear bias towards exploitation, as shown by
its all-out support for destructive mining operations which impact
on marine life, proves that the government itself has become part
of the problem."
Greenpeace is an independent, campaigning organisation, which
uses non-violent, creative confrontation to expose global
environmental problems, and to force solutions essential to a green
and peaceful future.