‘Coral reefs of Asia Pacific’ symposium gathers participants from 30 countries

Published June 5, 2018, 5:03 PM

by AJ Siytangco

By Calvin Cordova

CEBU CITY — Over 500 participants from more than 30 countries are participating in the 4th Asia-Pacific Coral Reef Symposium (APCRS), which started Monday at the Marco Polo Hotel here.

The five-day symposium is hosted by the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute (UP-MSI) in partnership with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Biodiversity Bureau.

4th Asia-Pacific Coral Reef Symposium via Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN
4th Asia-Pacific Coral Reef Symposium via Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN

With the theme “Coral Reefs of the Asia-Pacific: Working together amidst contemporary challenges,” the symposium is part of the celebration of the International Year of the Reef 2018.

“Overfishing and destructive fishing are some of the alarming threats and challenges we are facing today,” said Porfirio Aliño, chairman of the APCRS local organizing committee.

People behind coral reef research and conservation gathered to inspire the younger generation to continue the work of understanding and using natural resources wisely.
“Our hosting will highlight the importance of science and technology in conservation and good governance,” said Aliño.

Aliño further said that establishing marine protected areas headquarters can help prevent the threats that the country’s marine biodiversity is currently facing.

Gracing the symposium is Senator Loren Legarda, who talked about the micro water beads caused by the wastes from cosmetics and personal products also pose threat to the protected biodiversity of the Philippines.

“If we are responsible enough, we will not throw our solid wastes, human wastes, cosmetics and personal product wastes directly into the seas,” said Legarda, who chairs the Senate Committee on Climate Change.

Legarda challenged local governments to implement the Republic Act (RA) 9003 also known as the Solid Waste Management and the RA 9729 or the Climate Change Commission laws.

“I am calling on the local governments to exercise its crucial role in the strict implementation and enforcement of existing relevant laws concerning the conservation and sustainable marine biodiversity,” Legarda said.

Legarda said that around 2.7 million metric tons of plastic wastes were recorded already as of 2017 while there is half a million of plastic wastes leakage per year.

“We cannot ban plastics because there is no alternative yet,” said Put Ang Jr., chair of APCRS International Organizing Committee when asked about banning the plastic products in the market.

Ang said it is almost impossible to ban the use of plastic bags and containers since it is widely used by the consumers.

“The question here is how to minimize? We start minimizing it by using, for example, the disposable ones,” said Ang.

However, Legarda said that discipline is the only way to solve solid waste management problem in the country.

“Obviously, we need our seas to live and it is our responsibility to protect the seas,” said Legarda. (With a report from Larnie L. Bacalando)