By Roy Mabasa
A Switzerland-based international marine conservation group has warned all countries including the Philippines, of the serious impacts of noise pollution generated by oil explorations to the whole marine eco-system.
OceanCare spokesperson Nicolas Entrup said the issue of intense noise such as seismic surveys when searching for oil and gas resources is of “utmost urgency” and has to be taken seriously.
“Intense noise is a trans-boundary threat and therefore countries shall cooperate anyhow to evaluate the impacts because seismic surveys in the waters of country A can also impact species in waters of country B,” Entrup told the Manila Bulletin yesterday in an emailed response to queries concerning activities in South China Sea.
Recent studies have shown that noise activities have fatal impacts on fish species and zooplankton with severe consequences for the whole food web.
OceanCare’s warning came shortly after the 12th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS) adopted a resolution on marine noise at a conference held in Manila last October 22 to 28.
CMS is an environmental treaty under the aegis of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) that provides a global platform for the conservation and sustainable use of migratory animals and their habitats.
The resolution includes the world’s first guidelines for Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) for noise-generating activities.
Entrup pointed out that although the document is “non-binding,” it is strongly recommended that parties to the CMS do use the guidelines, run all applications to explore for the search of oil and gas resources via the recommended process and not permit intense noise activities if the information does not justify it.
“The decision remains with the country,” he said.
While there is no mechanism to compel non-parties like China, the United States, Canada, Russia or Japan to comply, he said they are “reaching out” to countries and other international bodies to recommend using these guidelines.
The Philippines is one of the signatories to the CMS, together with 123 other parties or member-countries.
Accordingly, the guidelines will be put into test as OceanCare urged the government of Montenegro to use the document in assessing the impact of a pending exploration on November 1, 2017.
As he applauded the guideline’s adoption during the Manila plenary, Entrup likewise admitted “it has made a sensitive agenda item that faced stiff opposition and lobbying efforts by the oil and gas industry.”
Tags: Conservation group, Conservation group warns against noise pollution impact, Entrup, Environmental Impact Assessments, Manila Bulletin, Nicolas Entrup, noise pollution, oil and gas resources, oil explorations, Philippines, seismic surveys
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