Are you sure your seafood is safe to eat?
Many people ask this because it can be hard to tell if seafood is safe to eat, let alone safe from the oil spill that happened in Oriental Mindoro and that has crept into the waters as far north as Batangas City.
BFAR Recommends The Continued Fishing Ban
A fishing ban in Oriental Mindoro is already in place stopping fishermen from catching fish to sell at palengkes or wet markets. According to an Inquirer report last March 5, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of Health (DOH) together have already tested the waters and air qualities in the area of the oil spill and have initially reported that the air “passed” its standards.
The Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) was also collecting fish samples during that time. The agency finally released a statement about the results of the tests.
The statement said that it found “low-level contaminants or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) in the fish samples”. This is concerning because these are harmful, not just to the fish, but also to humans. Plus, these “accumulate in the flesh of fish over time”.
Despite this finding, the DA-BFAR claims the results are “not yet conclusive as far as food safety is concerned.” Further and continued testing will be done and its results released to the public when it “becomes available”, the statement said.
The bad news is that the people, the sea life, and the environment may allegedly still feel the effects of an oil spill years from the date of the tragedy.
In short, it might be best to avoid eating fish in the affected areas.
Here’s the full statement of DA-BFAR about the water and fish tests conducted at the oil spill:
Don’t Eat The Fish And Seafood
According to a news report by the Philippine Star last March 6, the DOH has already warned residents against eating fish and other seafood affected by the oil spill. The question is how can one tell if the seafood came from the area or not?
Since we’re still waiting on news about the safety of our seafood, the easiest way to tell if the fish and other seafood are from the oil spill is allegedly by using your nose. You can allegedly detect or smell traces of oil and other petroleum products. If you are unsure of the origins of the fish, ask your fishmonger where the fish and seafood are caught.
Drink Water Only From Safe Sources
In a Philippine Star news report on March 7, DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire told residents living within 100 meters of the contaminated sea waters to drink water only from safe sources.
Already over 100 people affected by the oil spill have exhibited symptoms such as colds, headaches, and coughs. “Marami rin pong nahihilo, meron pong mga sumakit ang tiyan, nahirapan huminga, skin rashes, and na-aggravate ang kanilang asthma,” she also said.
She also advised those near the spill to switch from surgical masks to “industrial masks”. Industrial masks (also known as a filtering facepiece or facepiece respirator) are used in the industrial industry to prevent inhalation of dust, specks, other small particles, and even smoke that might be used in places where poor ventilation is experienced.
Are you located near the oil spill or in an area affected by it? We hope you keep and stay safe!