Plastic Pollution is Biggest Threat to Philippine Oceans, According to Marine Biologist in Davao City
Kenneth Mheil Mangaya- Ay | June 04, 2020
Oceans cover 70% of the earth’s surface. For a healthy planet, we need healthy oceans. For centuries, people have regarded them as an inexhaustible supply of food, a useful transport route, and a convenient dumping ground – simply too vast to be affected by anything we do. But human activity, over the last few decades, has finally pushed oceans to their limit.
In 2019, during the celebration of the Ocean Day, marine biologist, and environmentalist Darrell Blatchley recovered a 14 feet whale that had 40 kilos of plastic (rice sacks, grocery bags, banana plantation bags, and general plastic bags) inside of its stomach in Compostela Valley. “It was filled with plastic originating from the Philippines. It made international news for a few months but nothing changed locally. It’s frustrating.”
Blatchley is the curator and owner of D’ Bone Collector Museum Inc. in Davao City, a place filled with animal skeletons and preserved animals from around the world. An educational center to learn about life and death of these animals, it houses over 6,500 specimens on display. “We are born with a certain amount of time. How we use that time is very important not only in taking care of the environment but our relationship with God. Having that relationship also guides us in taking care of the environment and taking care of our fellowmen,” shared Blatchley.
His advocacy in preserving the environment and marine ecology was recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and declared the first prize winner for the Plastic Initiative Award. For Blatchley, the recognition will help amplify his voice in calling for everyone to take part in saving the nature, “It was an honor. It is one of the awards that re-affirms we are doing the right thing. It pushes me to use the awards (given to me) as keys to do more for the country,” said Blatchley.
The Plastic Initiative Award highlights the growing momentum to implement sustainable plastic-management strategies and prevent plastic waste from entering the marine environment. “Start using less plastic, properly dispose, and recycle. Stop treating the canals, rivers, and ocean as garbage cans,” said Blatchley, as he shared some actions people can take to protect the ocean and marine ecology.
The natural history museum is currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “We will spend time renovating and adding more displays. We are also looking at working with the Department of Science and Technology for plastic garbage programs,” shared Blatchley.