DOST funds study on microplastics in fish sold in Zambo City

By Teofilo Garcia, Jr.

August 28, 2020, 8:21 pm

ZAMBOANGA CITY – A scholar has received a grant of PHP596,000 to conduct a study on the potential health hazards of different types of microplastics in the top five most marketed fish in selected wet markets here.

Martin Wee, Department of Science and Technology (DOST) 9 (Zamboanga Peninsula) director, said Friday grant recipient, Dr. Servando Halili Jr., a Fulbright Research Fellowship scholar from 2009 to 2010 in Colorado, USA, would lead the study.

The Fulbright Advanced Research and University Lecturing Program is a scholarship for researchers and professors for the implementation of their own research projects at American universities, non-profit research institutes, and government institutions.

Wee said the grant was awarded by the DOST - Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD), through the Zamboanga Council for Health Research and Development-Regional Research Fund (ZCHRD-RRF).

The fund will be used to determine the types, abundance, and characteristics of microplastics found in the gut and tissue of the fish.

Also, Wee said the grant would be used to obtain the necessary provisions, supplies and materials, and chemical reagents for the numerous preparations and test solutions to determine the various microplastics present in fish.

Microplastics, as defined by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), are small pieces of plastic that pollute the environment.

Wee said these plastics are not a specific kind of plastic, but rather any type of plastic fragment that is less than 5 mm. in length.

A survey will be conducted to determine the top five most commonly sold fish, through stratified sampling, in the wet markets of Magay, Sta. Cruz, Guiwan, Upper Calarian, and Sangali here.

Wee said survey participants would be fish vendors regardless of age and gender.

The results of the study are expected to guide policymakers in regulating the production, use, and disposal of single-use plastics in the city.

Halili’s study on the determination of microplastics present in the five most commonly sold fish in this city becomes the fourth research to be funded through the ZCHRD-RRF.

Halili has a doctorate in American Culture Studies from Bowling Green State University in 2003, a graduate of Master of Arts in Literature from the Ateneo de Manila University in 1994, and a product of Mindanao State University - Marawi City with an education degree. (PNA)