China’s Militarization Causes Ecological Damage in West Philippine Sea

China’s militarization and environmental exploitation in the West Philippine Sea threaten the livelihoods of 1.8 million coastal Filipinos, devastate marine ecosystems, and prompt legal actions from the Philippines for environmental damages.

China’s militarization in the disputed South China Sea, known locally as the West Philippine Sea, parts of the South China Sea that are included in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, is dealing a hard blow to 1.8 million Filipinos living at coastal areas, as marine scientists have forewarned for years the relentless activities were having on the environment, including massive clamshell harvesting, illegal and overfishing, and underwater oil and gas exploration.

In an interview with Maritime Fairtrade, Attorney Gloria Estenzo Ramos, vice president, Oceana, a nonprofit ocean conservation organization, said the impact on the marine environment and livelihood is felt mostly by the municipal fishing sector since it is dependent on the West Philippine Sea’s fisheries to survive. China has made it more difficult for local fisherfolks in recent years to access fishing areas as tensions continues to rise.

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