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Cebu News

Expert warns of ill-effects on environment, humans of Consolacion reclamation project

Caecent No-ot Magsumbol - The Freeman
Expert warns of ill-effects on environment, humans of Consolacion reclamation project
The project, if continued, is expected to affect not only the fisherfolk and the habitat of marine resources but also is expected to cause flooding and loss of money to the LGU of Consolacion.

CEBU, Philippines —  The Seafront City reclamation project “brings more harm than good” for Consolacion and other neighboring towns, said Dr. Filipina B. Sotto of the FBS-Environment and Community Research and Development Services.

The project, if continued, is expected to affect not only the fisherfolk and the habitat of marine resources but also is expected to cause flooding and loss of money to the LGU of Consolacion.

“Should the reclamation project continue as it is, the damage to our marine biodiversity will be irreversible,” Dr. Filipina Sotto.

The project is said to be a 235.80-hectare reclamation project by the Consolacion LGU and its partner, La Consolacion Seafront Development Corporation (LCSDC).

Sotto said her team found 75 species of corals in the project site.

“The destruction of corals will harm aquatic animals because they will lose habitat and source of food,” Sotto said.

For people living near the sea and those who will be affected by quarrying, landslides and flooding are also anticipated.

For those living near the sea, corals and mangroves are important because they form barriers that weaken the impact of sea waves

“Without them, these people are more vulnerable to strong floods,” added Sotto.

With regard to quarrying, it is also anticipated to worsen environmental issues in Consolacion.

“Quarrying is required to get the gravel and sand needed to complete the reclamation project. However, in the long run, the foundation of the lands in the quarrying area will get weaker. This increases the risk of landslides occurring in Consolacion during the rainy season,” Sotto said.

Other natural resources that could be destroyed by the reclamation project include 51 species of macrobenthic invertebrates and seven species of mangroves that are nursery grounds supporting the fishery in Cansaga Bay, still according to the study. These are organisms that live on the bottom of a water body such as the sea.

“Mangroves protect communities from floods and storm surges. Given Consolacion is vulnerable to flooding in general, enhancing the presence of mangroves must be considered to protect the residents,” said Sotto instead of pursuing the project.

It was also found out that aside from the fisherfolks of Consolacion, there are also hundreds of other fisherfolks from the neighboring towns of Consolacion including Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu, and Liloan will lose their livelihood if the reclamation project pushes through.

“The loss of our natural resources will also harm the poor the most, such as the fisherfolk who rely on the sea for their income and sustenance,” environmentalist said.

Sotto’s team also has some reservations on the land the Consolacion LGU and LCSDC want to reclaim for the project.

“The reclaimed lands will likely collapse since these are natural mudflat terrains, which do not have stable soil foundations. These are also prone to liquefaction, a phenomenon where soil loses strength and stiffness,” he said.

With this, the LGU and LCDSC “will likely lose the money they are investing in because Seafront City may crumble one day”.

Their study also revealed that the water sampling test showed that the waters around the shipyards did not pose a threat to the marine ecosystem.

“In contrast, pursuing the reclamation project will kill our aquatic resources because gravel and sand will be dumped in the reclamation site,” the environmental expert said. — KQD (FREEMAN)

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