Scientists scoff at San Miguel Corporation’s “biodiversity offset site”

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Scientists expressed disdain over the San Miguel Corporation’s announcement to build a biodiversity offset site in Barangay Pamarawan, Malolos City in Bulacan. Agham, a group of scientists, said this is nothing more than “greenwashing” to mask over the company’s widespread environmental destruction.

The so-called Saribuhay sa Dampalit will cover 40 hectares of mangroves to become a “feeding ground” for migrating birds. It has been called a “biodiversity offset site” to supposedly reduce the major damages caused by a project, but which only aims to cover up the destruction caused by the Aerotropolis (New Manila International Airport) project on the environment and people’s livelihoods. SMC built this along the northern coast of Bulacan where mangroves and fishing grounds are found.

“Saribuhay in Dampalit? Saribuhay as trade-off!” Agham mocked the project. The group says this is part of SMC’s attempt to pass off the Aerotropolis as “sustainable” and not evironementally damaging while disregarding the opposition of scientists and communities due to its adverse impacts to the biodiversity and natural ecology of the area.

“Biodiversity parks like Saribuhay sa Dampalit… should not be a trade-off for the negative impacts of… projects,” according to the group. “The focus should be on minimizing on-going harm by stopping all reclamation in Manila Bay and implementing a moratorium on new developments.”

The group says Aerotropolis will destroy the rich biodiversity in the area it will cover and beyond. Even at the initial dredging and reclamation stage, the project has already destroyed 2,300 hectares of wetlands, have caused water birds to decrease and natural breeding grounds for fish to be destroyed. “It would take 25,000 hectares of new mangrove forests and wetlands to compensate for these damages,” it said.

AB: Scientists scoff at San Miguel Corporation's "biodiversity offset site"