China's Occupying Boats Dumping Sewage On Philippine Reefs
Beijing is using thousands of fishing boats to push its neighbors out of contested waters, and these are causing an environmental disaster.
MANILA, PHILIPPINES — In 2016, an international tribunal in The Hague invalidated China's claims that it owns almost all of the South China Sea. The tribunal also unanimously upheld the Philippines' sovereign rights to disputed reefs and islands
close to its shorelines.
However, that has not stopped China from using thousands of fishing boats to push Philippine boats away from these contested areas. These occupying Chinese boats are now causing a serious threat to marine life in the region. Here are the details:
The Associated Press reports that sewage from hundreds of stationary Chinese boats is causing algae blooms that have damaged coral reefs and threatened fish stocks in an unfolding environmental disaster.
Western analysts say the boats are part of a huge Chinese maritime militia that use sheer force of numbers to push other nations out of contested areas in the South China Sea.
Satellite images over the last five years show how human sewage and wastewater have accumulated around these stationary flotillas, causing damaging algae blooms which are destroying reefs that are vital for the reproduction of fish stocks.
Analysts of Simularity Inc, a company that specializes in satellite imagery analysis, spoke on Monday, July 12, at a Philippine online news forum on China's actions in the South China Sea — a sea that China claims to be almost entirely its own.
The analysts showed satellite images of at least 236 ships anchored at the Union Banks atoll on June 17 alone.
The images also showed large blooms of algae spreading out around the cluster of ships.
The analysts warned that schools of fish, including migratory tuna, breed in the reefs that are being damaged and the sewage could cause fish stocks to considerably decline in an offshore area that is a key regional food source.
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