Half-year underwater cleanup in Antique’s Nogas Island begins

Members of the Basecamp Divers Iloilo collect crown of thorns – a starfish species that preys upon hard or stony coral polyps – in the waters of Nogas Island on Sept. 30. BASECAMP DIVERS ILOILO

SAN JOSE, Antique – A group of divers led an underwater cleanup drive in Nogas Island, a famous diving destination located in Anini-y town.

“We look forward to have a cleaner reef for Nogas Island and control the overpopulation of the crown of thorns,” said Karlo Agao of Basecamp Divers Iloilo.

The group has partnered with various stakeholders in Antique, like the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office, Belison Community Environment and Natural Resources Office, and an association of banca operators in Nogas.

Crown of thorns (Acanthaster planci) is the second largest starfish species in the world. It can grow to be over half a meter wide and is a serious threat to coral reefs. If outbreaks of these coral killers are not controlled immediately they will continue to spread. MOTHER NATURE NETWORK

The divers started cleaning up the island waters in September. The cleanup – which will be done twice a month – will last for six months.

They target to rid the island waters of abandoned fishing lines, plastic sachets, straws, shampoo and bottled water, and crown of thorns (a starfish species).

Crown of thorns preys upon hard or stony coral polyps, which lead to the destruction of the reef.

Nogas Island is a popular diving site located in Antique’s southernmost town of Anini-y. It takes about 15 to 20 minutes via boat to reach the island known for its white sands and coral reefs. RUNIEL REEL/FACEBOOK

Agao said the overpopulation of the species is a “worldwide problem.”

“Everybody is doing the same to control the overpopulation of that species,” added.

Last month, the divers collected eight bags of solid waste and crown of thorns. (With PNA/PN)


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