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philippines to probe report of chinese sewage-dumping at sea

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The Philippines’ defenceminister on Tuesday ordered the military to investigate a reportby a U.S.-based tech firm that hundreds of Chinese vessels weredumping sewage into contested areas of the South China Sea.
China maintains a constant presence of coastguard andfishing boats in the South China Sea to assert its claim ofsovereignty, including hundreds in the Spratly islands, wherethe Philippines, Brunei, Taiwan, Vietnam and Malaysia also haveclaims.
Simularity, an AI-based satellite image analysis firm, onMonday made public satellite images over a five-year period thatit said showed damage caused by untreated human waste fromChinese vessels.
“While we are confirming and verifying these wastes beingdumped … we consider such irresponsible acts, if true, to begravely detrimental to the marine ecology in the area,”Philippine Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in astatement.
“Despite conflicting claims and interests by states in theSouth China Sea, all nations must be responsible stewards of ournatural resources and environment.”
At a forum on Monday, Liz Derr, Simularity co-founder andCEO, said the waste could threaten fish stocks.
“It is so intense you can see it from space,” Derr said.
The Chinese embassy in Manila did not immediately respondwhen asked by media for comment on Simularity’s report.
The Philippines has become more vocal in recent months overthe presence of hundreds of vessels it believes are Chinesemaritime militias.(