DENR validating if Chinese vessels are dumping raw sewage in WPS

Published July 13, 2021, 2:58 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is now in the process of confirming whether or not Chinese vessels are dumping raw sewage–particularly human waste–within the country’s territory in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

(Photo from AFP)

This was bared by DENR Undersecretary Benny D. Antiporda in a statement to reporters Tuesday afternoon, July 13. He said they are coordinating with different agencies regarding the matter.

“We will coordinate with PCG (Philippine Coast Guard) and DND (Department of National Defense) first on the authenticity of the allegation…We will also validate if indeed these are Chinese vessels,” Antiporda said.

“After that, we will be seeking the attention of the Chinese government through our DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs),” added the official.

The WPS–home to resource-rich areas in terms of marine life and supposed oil–is a much-disputed part of the South China Sea (SCS). Regional power China has long been imposing a blanket claim over the entirety of the SCS based on historical grounds.

Various news outlets reported Monday July 12 that hundreds of ships anchored in the Spratly Islands in the WPS “are dumping raw sewage every day onto the reefs they are occupying.” The reports quoted Liz Derr, co-founder and chief executive officer of the United States (US)-based geospatial imagery firm Simularity.

DENR Undersecretary Benny D. Antiporda (Screengrab from Zoom meeting)

Incidentally, Monday marked the fifth anniversary of the Philippines’ historic arbitral court win over China in connection with the WPS disputes.

The ruling of The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration on July 12, 2016 invalidated China’s nine-dash line claim in the SCS. Beijing has never recognized the decision.

Antiporda serves as the undersecretary for solid waste management and local government units (LGUs) concerns at the DENR.