August 2017 – Green Fins Philippines – Panglao dive centres show positive change for the oceans

For the third year, volunteer assessors were based in Panglao, Philippines for six weeks while undertaking the annual assessments. Battling brown outs and a quiet low season, dive centres were no less enthusiastic for environmental protection. In total 150 dive staff received training in environmental standards and solution management, 19 dive centres were reassessed and six new members joined the Green Fins community of over 500 dive operators.

While the industry continues to struggle with hazardous waste management and the municipality struggles with large amounts of trash, dive centres are recognising that it is their responsibility to make change happen through Green Fins implementation. As a response to increased levels of indirect environmental threat, 2017 assessments showed that the environmental risk posed by GF members reduced by almost 25%, with a 40% reduction in the risk of direct diver damage. With less reef impact from the diving industry, the oceans can hope to better deal with other impacts. There are some fantastic efforts occurring in Panglao to make change happen and it is being driven by an enthusiastic diving industry.

Assessors teamed up with local government to bring better hazardous waste management solutions to Panglao. Currently there is no way to recycle batteries and engine oil but by working with the Chairman of the Municipal Environmental Committee solutions were identified and brought to the councils attention for development of real, government led progress. Two local businesses also agreed to accept used engine oil so they can repurpose it as lumber treatment and for keeping tools free of rust. Speaking at the legislative council meeting the councillors are aware of the hazardous waste management problem in Panglao and are now looking in to the development of solutions based on the demand created by the private sector and evidence from the assessment process

Six workshops in environmental standards were also delivered to Chinese, Japanese and Korean Green Fins members to help fill knowledge gaps and respond to the increasing numbers of divers coming from Northern Asia. In total 50 people received the training and were very interested in learning more about the marine ecosystem and how to implement sustainable practices on a daily basis.

Reef-World would like to thank everyone who participated in the three clean up events held as part of a global campaign to go Plastic Free for July. In total, almost 2000kg of trash were removed from Alona, Danao and Doljo beaches with many different groups, businesses and individuals participating. Special thanks to Plastic Free Bohol for additional promotion and to Equation Bohol Dive centre for conducting their own event!

Congratulations to Equation Bohol who are are Panglao’s first Top 10 Green Fins member. They have shown extraordinary conservation capacity over three assessments and their place at number 6 is a great achievement as one of the global leaders in sustainable diving.