Philippines: Oil Spill Impacts Marine Life, Human Health

Image copyright: Philippine Coast Guard via Wikimedia Commons

The Facts

  • Last week, the MT Princess Empress — an oil tanker carrying 800K liters of oil — sank off the coast of the Oriental Mindoro province in the Philippines. The oil has now reached the shores of nearby areas including fishing villages, coating them in a thick and oily sludge.

  • The spill has impacted 34 marine protection locations across 10 municipalities. The protected area is home to acres of marine life including coral reefs, mangroves, and seagrasses.

The Spin

Narrative A

The Philippine government must act quickly to contain and clean up this oil spill. The damage done will negatively impact food security and livelihoods in the immediate area for a long time to come. More than 2M people and marine life are at risk because of this accident and life needs to return to normal as expeditiously as possible. But it is also an opportunity, at the national level, for the government to end its commitments to fossil fuels and to begin leading the globe in environmental protection.

Narrative B

The world's greed and profiteering leads to thousands of oil spills each year. There are few practices in place governing the recovery from such accidents. The technology for such clean-ups is outdated and not very effective. The soaring increases in fossil fuel consumption drive up the need for drilling, extraction, and subsequently transporting. As the demand increases, so will the likelihood of spills, and thus the fallout of oil spills will continue to damage the environment until a change is sought — this is an international issue in scope.

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