Corolla ovata, a so-called Sea Butterfly, is a swimming
gastropod in the Family Cymbuliidae. This photo was taken by
Philippe Poppe on Caubian Reef, Philippines.
CORAL: Having made numerous dives in the Philippines,
you must have a very good idea of the overall state of
the marine ecosystems there. Can you tell us something
about this, please? Is the situation really as dire as we
read and hear?
Poppe: The current view that the seas of Southeast
Asia are in a catastrophic state due to environmental
pollution and destruction is generally incorrect, when
viewed from a global viewpoint. The Philippines can
be described as unspoiled in comparison with Europe.
Of the 25,000+ miles ( 40,000 km) of coastline in the
archipelago, only the Bay of Manila and short stretch-es in the vicinity of other large cities, such as Davao,
Cebu City, and Zamboanga, can be described as genuinely polluted. The coasts have not been disturbed by
large harbors or other human infrastructure, as there
is hardly any industry. Many organizations are afraid
that their members won’t be able to take a Philippine
holiday in a tropical paradise with unique biodiversity,
but the fact is, we should be far more concerned about
the environmental pollution in the industrialized countries and less worried about the Philippines, or even the
entire Coral Triangle, which is composed of the reefs
of Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, the Solomon Islands, and East Timor.