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South China Sea: China’s dredging, island building taking a heavy toll on the marine environment — Science Magazine reports
By Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) | Updated September 29, 2015


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Photo provided by the Armed Forces of the Philippines shows construction on Kagitingan (Fiery Cross) Reef in the Spratly Islands. STAR/File photo


MANILA, Philippines – A magazine has featured China’s island building projects in the South China Sea as destroying reefs and endangering the marine environment.

In an article in a recent issue of Science Magazine, Christina Larson wrote that the geopolitical maneuvering in the South China Sea (SCS) is taking a heavy toll on the marine environment, scientists believe.

The Spratlys – called Nansha by the Chinese – that include islets, coral reefs and atolls, have become the focus of a territorial dispute between China and its neighbors.

“To the dismay of other countries bordering the SCS — Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Brunei — China claims most of the sea, and it is bolstering its claims with a massive land filling effort to transform some of the atolls into full-fledged islands,” Larson said.

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By piling sand, gravel and dead coral onto reef flats to create new land and dredging shipping channels nearby, she said, China has destroyed large areas of reefs and their biodiversity that serve as fish nurseries in much of the South China Sea.

The Philippines said the South China Sea is in an environmental crisis.

With challenges in the region to marine resources management, such as the destruction of coral reefs in the South China Sea due to massive reclamation and its attendant economic costs, the Philippines said it should be addressed by all parties concerned in order to realize Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SD Goal 14, which deals with oceans, seas and marine resources.

Edgardo Gomez, professor emeritus of the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute and National Scientist, applied calculations of ecological economics to estimate that the 800 hectares of ocean filling or reclamation done by China that subsequently destroyed centuries-old coral reef ecosystems amounted to a loss worth $280 million.

“These are losses to the Vietnamese, the Filipinos, the Malaysians, the Indonesians and to the Chinese themselves,” Gomez said.

He said that because of the great value of the West Philippine Sea to many countries in the Coral Triangle Region and beyond, “all countries that are contributing to the degradation and destruction of the shallow water ecosystems must stop their activities that are known to be detrimental to the productivity and biodiversity of the waters of Southeast Asia.”

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China dredger Tian Jing Hao is called “The Reef Eater.” It grinds up coral reefs which are then used in China’s effort to creating man made islands. At least nine islands are almost complete, including three air bases and sea ports.

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China’s vast South China Sea fishing fleet.

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An aerial image shows construction on reclaimed land located in a disputed area of the South China Sea.  Reuters

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China claims ownership of about 90% of the South China Sea. Most of China’s neighbors believe otherwise.

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The chart below shows the area declared by China on 1 January 2014 as “an area under China’s jurisdiction.” China says “foreign fishing vessels” can only enter and work in this area with prior approval from China. Vietnam, the Philippines and others have said they will not comply with China’s law.


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pack you, china! >:(
Republic Act 8485 (Animal Welfare Act of 1998, Philippines), as amended and strengthened by House  Bill 6893 of 2013--- violation means a maximum of P250,000 fine with a corresponding three-year jail term and a minimum of P30,000 fine and six months imprisonment

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Poachers! Corals were found on board a Chinese boat, caught on March 23, 2016.




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Philippine Marine Biodiversity

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