The first batch of volunteers allowed by the provincial government of Oriental Mindoro to conduct cleanup efforts started on the rocky shore of Buhay na Tubig on Monday, March 6.
One of the hardest hit areas in the municipality of Pola, volunteers collected multiple sacks of oil mixed with sand in just their first two hours cleaning up the oil spill from MT Princess Empress, which sank on February 28 with 800,000 liters of industrial fuel oil.
Due to the health risks that exposure from the oil spill can cause, only volunteers wearing HAZMAT personal protective equipment (PPEs) are allowed to do the cleanup. Volunteers are also required to attend safety trainings on proper oil spill cleanup and containment.
According to cleanup volunteer Maribel Famadico, each group of volunteers is only allowed to do cleanup for two hours based on the safety guidelines.
Famadico said the volunteers are all residents of Buhay na Tubig, most of whom are fishermen or have family members who depend on the waters in Buhay na Tubig for food and livelihood.
Here’s what the cleanup in Buhay na Tubig looked like on Monday, March 6. – Rappler.com