South China Sea: Environmentalists demand China to stop ‘ecological destruction’

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The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs said on April 13 that “China’s massive reclamation activities are causing irreversible and widespread damage to the biodiversity and ecological balance of the South China Sea.” It also said that the destruction of coral reef systems resulting from Beijing’s land reclamation projects is estimated to lead to economic losses to coastal states valued at $100 million annually.

By Aries Joseph Hegina
INQUIRER.net

Environmentalists trooped to the Chinese Consulate in Makati City on Monday to demand China to stop its reclamation works in the West Philippine Sea which damage the marine ecosystem in the area.

Holding banners written with the call “China Out of Philippine Seas Now,” about 20 members of the Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment staged a protest slamming China’s bullying of Filipino fishermen in the disputed area.

File photo of anti-China protest in the Philippines

“China’s reclamation and other militaristic activities in the West Philippine Sea is threatening its biodiverse yet fragile marine ecosystem and the fisherfolk who depend on its rich seas. It is short-sighted for the Chinese government to sacrifice the food security, livelihood and ecological health that should be benefitting millions of people not only in Southeast Asia but for their people as well, in exchange for the economic self-interests of a few,” National coordinator of Kalikasan Clemente Bautista said in a statement.

The environmental group said that China’s military activities in the disputed area will ”increase the risk of coral reef destruction, toxic and hazardous waste dumping, and the depletion of fisheries.”

Bautista said that it is high time for all territory claimants, which include the Philippines, “to protect and rehabilitate its critical marine ecosystems in the West Philippine Sea.”

A Chinese boat scrapes the coral

“It seems both Chinese and PH authorities are blind to their inter-generational responsibility to save West PH Sea from further degradation. Citizens across Asia and the Pacific should realize that this ongoing resource conflict is not in their interests, and should demand their authorities to demilitarize the contested waters and uphold a diplomatic solution,” Bautista said.

On Tuesday, the Philippine Navy will hold passing exercises in the West Philippine Sea with the Japanese warships.

Philippine Navy Chief Vice Admiral Jesus Millan said that the passing exercise is “a good opportunity to practice the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea.” CC

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Read more: http://globalnation.inquirer.net/122754/environmentalists-demand-china-to-stop-ecological-destruction-in-west-ph-sea#ixzz3ZpUBMhbR
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See the illustration larger:

Chinese tourists have posted photographs of themselves online showing off their catch, including endangered reefer sharks and red coral. Photo: Guangzhou Daily

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