ucanews.com reporter, Manila
Updated: July 24, 2013 11:01 PM GMT
Greenpeace activists display a banner after blockading Manila's Pier 18 (Photo by Steve De Neef/Greenpeace)
Environmental activists and the crew of the Greenpeace ship Esperanza successfully blockaded an allegedly illegal dumpsite on the shores of Manila Bay today.
Activists in small boats secured mooring lines blocking Manila’s Pier 18, preventing the entry and exit of trash barges.
After closing the dumpsite, the activists displayed banners that read “This dumpsite is now closed” and “Stop ocean destruction.”
Purportedly a garbage “transfer station,” it is claimed that Pier 18, which covers about 3 hectares, has been illegally stockpiling trash meant for a permanent dump outside the city for decades.
It is the most high-profile of several dumps polluting the bay, according to the activists.
Greenpeace and the EcoWaste Coalition are calling for the immediate closure of the dump and for the site to be cleaned up.
“Each year, the government spends millions trying to clean up Manila Bay. But a big part of the problem is illegal waste dumps,” said Aileen Lucero, national coordinator of EcoWaste Coalition.
“It is completely unacceptable that this garbage dump continues to operate with impunity when it blatantly violates Philippine laws."
“Pier 18 is a sordid example of crime and grime on our waters,” said Greenpeace spokesman Vince Cinches.
Unless dumps such as Pier 18 are shut down, pollution problems facing communities on land and plaguing marine life will be difficult, even impossible to address, the activists said.
“It is time the government sent the message that our coastal waters are not dumping grounds. We need to protect the integrity of our marine resources against abuse,” Lucero said.
The Esperanza is in the Philippines as part of its “Ocean Defender Tour of Southeast Asia 2013.”
The tour aims to tell the story of the richness and the beauty of the Philippine seas, expose destruction that causes marine degradation, and urge government action to save the Philippine seas from crisis.
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