DENR: Several areas in Mindoro Oriental fail seawater quality test after oil spill
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Tuesday deemed several areas in Oriental Mindoro not safe for swimming after the water samples gathered from the coastal towns did not pass the water quality test amid an oil spill from a submerged motor tanker.
According to Jun Veneracion’s report on “24 Oras”, among the affected areas are the white sand beaches in the municipality of Pola — considered the hardest hit locality by the incident.
“The water sampling that we took for the first five days already failed the standard for oil and grease. So hindi na po pasado ito,” said DENR MIMAROPA regional director Lormelyn Claudio.
Oriental Mindoro Governor Humerlito Dolor said swimming activities are temporarily banned in the province due to the oil leak.
But apart from the possible effect on the skin, the Department of Health (DOH) warned the oil spill may likewise cause respiratory illnesses to the affected residents.
“Definitely there will be long-term...some of these are carcinogenic. Kahit konti lang yun (Even if they are of small quantities) but repeated exposure might accumulate. Ang level might already be toxic for humans,” said DOH regional director Mario Baquilod.
At least 18 individuals in Pola are currently suffering from respiratory illnesses, according to the report.
The Provincial Health Office advised residents to wear face masks and to avoid visiting the areas affected by the oil spill to prevent getting sick. Those who are experiencing dryness of the mouth that leads to stomachache are told to consume lots of fluid.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said it has yet to verify the reported location of the sunken MT Princess as the remotely operated vehicle to be used in the procedure is yet to arrive in the country.
“Pagkatapos ma-seal lahat ng mga ano, tagas, isa-siphon at yung barko na naka-contract nila ay may capability na gawin ang mga bagay na ‘yun,” Commodore Inocencio Rosario Jr., PCG Commander in Southern Tagalog, said.
(After we seal the leak, we will siphon it. The ship contracted by the company has the capability to do that.)—Sundy Locus/LDF, GMA Integrated News