Commentary: Save our seas
Antonio Claparols (The Philippine Star) - February 7, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — For once, leave politics out of this issue and make the facts speak for themselves. 

The coral colonies in the South China Sea are the richest and most diverse in the world. Any harm that goes to the coral colonies of the South China Sea will affect all oceans in the world as they are all connected. They, in fact, replenish the Pacific Ocean day in and day out. The fish catch in the area benefits all the peoples that surround it. 

The ocean is not a giant trashcan that everyone can use. It is alive and absorbs over 50 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions, while supplying us with over 70 percent of all oxygen. The marine ecosystem and its biodiversity are in peril and must be protected. Its contribution to life is more than the forest. 

The amount of trash and pollution has damaged our marine ecosystem and the number of gyres and dead zones has increased. The Pacific Ocean has two great gyres, and what is also known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is the largest of the offshore plastic accumulation zones in the planet. It is located between California and Hawaii. 

Just to give you an idea of how big this patch is, it is twice the size of Texas and three times the size of France, an area of over 1.6 million square kilometers. Over two million metric tons of plastic enter the oceans each year. These are dead zones that have no life, and thus, are killing the marine environment. 

Callum Roberts’ The Ocean of Life and Sylvia Earle’s The World is Blue tell us of the wrongs being done to the oceans and how the web of life – from the little plankton to the big blue whale – is connected and being destroyed.  

The effects of climate change are taking their toll on the oceans as well. The coral colonies are bleaching as the little minute polyps, the builders of the coral reefs, are dying. It is not enough that the parrotfish and the crown of thorns eat the polyps but the sun’s heat is getting even hotter. Upwelling and downwelling and the change of the water temperature and currents are causing massive changes to species. 

And now, Japan has lifted the ban on commercial whaling. 

We say, save our coral colonies and save our seas. We have always advocated this.

The Earth is 70-percent ocean and yes it is time to protect and conserve her and leave politics out of the corner. 

I am tired of singing the same old song. 

Antonio M. Claparols is the president of the Ecological Society of the Philippines.

ANTONIO M. CLAPAROLS
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