MANILA – The Department of National Defense (DND) announced on Tuesday that it is investigating claims of alleged human waste dumping by Chinese vessels in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).
“We have taken note of the news circulating online about the alleged dumping of waste in the South China Sea. Be that as it may, I have directed the Western Command who has jurisdiction over the WPS to verify and investigate,” Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in a statement.
This came after Simularity, a geospatial imagery firm based in the United States, reported that Chinese ships were dumping sewage and human waste in the reefs of the disputed waters.
“However, the photo of a ship seen dumping waste accompanying the report was found to have been taken in the Australian Great Barrier Reef in 2014. Therefore, this intent to mislead has cast great doubt on the accurateness of the Simularity report. We also question the conclusion reached by Simularity from just looking at satellite photos,” he added.
Lorenzana further stated that, while the Philippines has yet to determine whether these wastes are being thrown in the WPS, such irresponsible activities, if proven true, will cause severe damage to marine life in the region.
“Despite conflicting claims and interests by states in the South China Sea, all nations must be responsible stewards of our natural resources and environment,” he added.