After receiving reports of Chinese ships allegedly dumping tons garbage and raw sewage The Philippine Defense Department said it would investigate.
The ministry said it has dispatched a number of military ships to area survey where the alleged dumping took place. China claims most of the South China Sea, where countries such as the Philippines, Taiwan, Brunei, Vietnam and Malaysia also have claims.
Artificial intelligence-based satellite image analysis company Simularity first announced the news after publishing several satellite images taken over a five-year period. The company alleges that Chinese ships dumped untreated human waste in a large area around the disputed waters.
China has maintained a large and regular military and civilian presence in the South China Sea as part of an effort to assert its sovereignty claims. The country has even created dozens of artificial islands along some of the reefs, and built large military facilities around the area.
Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said: “While we are confirming and verifying these wastes are dumped… we consider such irresponsible actions, if true, to cause severely damaged marine ecosystems in the region,” said Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.
Lorenzana said that, despite the disputed waters, all countries still have a responsibility to ensure the protection of the environment and its natural resources.
Simularity’s founder and chief executive officer, Liz Derr, said in a statement that the waste they discovered was large enough to threaten fish stocks in the area. She said the extent of the damage was so intense that it could be seen from space.
“Hundreds of ships moored there are dumping raw sewage, daily, onto the reefs they occupy…when the ships are not moving, the dung piles up. This is a disaster of proportions. big and we’re almost like Derr said.
The Philippines’ Department of Environment and Natural Resources said it had coordinated with the Philippine Coast Guard to verify the reports. Deputy Environment Secretary Benny D. Antiporda said they will also bring in the Departments of Defense and State Departments to assist with the issue.
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