Monday, June 30, 2008

To all Fish lovers, lament!

I was riding with my dad to work this morning as I faked sleep. I wanted to avoid any lengthy discussion we might have on women's proprieties. I'm 24 years old, have a job and practically an introvert, but he still has the 12 o'clock Cinderella law imposed on me. I let him indulge sometimes, but Monday mornings are crucial to me; and my engagement last night was purely for a pre-wedding business, which I will explain in my future posts.

While I was faking my sleep I was also listening to the morning AM radio show wherein they were talking about the chemicals still submerged in the seas of Romblon with the capsized Princess of the Stars vessel of Sulpicio Lines. The chemical inside the vessel has substantial amounts and the chemical is considered very very toxic, according to the Admiral being interviewed on the show. Upon hearing this I remembered the conversation I had with Anton, Mitch and yaya while I was having lunch at their house last Saturday. Anton was pretty hesitant to eat fish in the event that he would be in a way poisoned by the chemicals. According to his hypothesis, once the fishes get contaminated, eat the remains of any small particular fiber of chemicals stuck on the dead bodies, the living upon eating those contaminated fishes will suffer the consequences. I'd hate to think that. I'm not a marine biologist or a "scientific" food expert, but I really hope that the hypothesis will just stay as a hypothesis. I listened to the conversation as I munched on the succulent, garlicky tuna belly for lunch. You may never know, it might be my last, better enjoy the remaining parts of it.

After I listened to the radio show, I googled the news here at the office to get the facts. The vessel is at this point, still capsized with hundreds of bodies still trapped inside. Retrieval efforts of the bodies were moving in a slow pace due to some technical and insurance reasons of Sulpicio lines. Yet, last friday, they found another reason for a crucial delay. They found out that the vessel carried a toxic chemical, used as a main component in Fertilizer and Pesticides, called ENDOSULFAN. It's so toxic that it will cause hazardous effects to the environment and humans. The vessel is apparently carrying 10 metric tons or 10,000 kilograms of Endosulfan imported by Del Monte Philippines to be used in its pineapple plantation in Bukidnon, according to Manila Times. Unfortunately, carrying this toxic chemical in a passenger ship was not declared by the Lines' officials, which is another law breaking in itself. Another whammy for the Sulpicio Lines.

Endosulfan, according to the report, has been banned in many countries because of its highly toxic contents. The Senate, headed by Sen. Pia Cayetano, now investigates the records of Endosulfan trading that has been happening in this country for the past two years. The chemical can travel for lengthy periods of time. It commonly contaminates air, water, plants and fish. According to Wikipedia, most of the US national parks were exposed to Endosulfan, yet they were very far from where the chemical is being used. Wikipedia has again put Philippines as reference to point out another crucial case of the use and illegal transportation of toxic chemicals.

Another set of hearings and another issue that merits probing. It's bad enough that few dead bodies were only retrieved for the past days. Now they have complications. According to officials, they are still formulating the best ways to take out the chemicals from the vessel without contaminating the waters, which according to them is still clean. Divers are constantly being monitored and the waters are currently being tested. The local officials of nearby villages barred fishermen from the seas until the chemical has been retrieved and water tests administered. Government in the mean time urged Sulpicio Lines and Del Monte Philippines to shoulder the costs of the retrieval operation.

Gosh, what a pity! The incompetencies befriended by self-interests can really kill! Aside from the frustrated relatives of the ill-fated passengers, the fishermen will be the ones to suffer greatly as they are barred from their livelihood. This is so unfortunate indeed. I do love fish! I'm a fish fanatic, I can live without meat, but not without FISH. Blast you, incompetent fools, for threatening one of my culinary happiness! I hope they get the toxins out, and test the waters immediately and regularly! Let the Sulpicio administration and Del Monte Philippines be accountable for the lives of the fishermen and the security of the environment. May they pray that this hypothesis would just remain a hypothesis.

Sources: Manilatimes

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