ask theory, biological oceanography, Aletta Yñiguez, Paano Natin Tuluyang Maliligtas Ang Manila Bay?

Hosted by EIC Mikael Angelo Francisco, Ask Theory shines the spotlight on Pinoy scientific brilliance, in a fun and entertaining “kwentuhan” format. Each episode of Ask Theory  features a Pinoy scientist from one of the various scientific disciplines. In a very casual conversation, guests explain what they do in simple terms, as well as share their fascinating stories: how they got into science, the challenges they face, what motivates them to pursue their fields, what future scientists from the Philippines can look forward to, and so much more.

Episode 13: Paano Natin Tuluyang Maliligtas Ang Manila Bay?

In 1999, a lawsuit filed by concerned citizens against certain government agencies marked the start of Manila Bay’s long and difficult struggle towards rehabilitation. After a nine-year legal battle, the Supreme Court ruled that those agencies should take charge of cleaning up the bay. Since then, the government has initiated all sorts of projects, from yearly cleanup drives to reportedly spending Php 389 million on dolomite sand. Here’s what’s mind-boggling: Recent samples from the bay suggest that it’s at least 220 times filthier than it was twenty-two years ago. So, where did we go wrong? How did we let this happen? And at this point, is there still any hope for Manila Bay?

Our guest on today’s show is Dr. Aletta Yñiguez, an Associate Professor of biological oceanography and ecological modeling at the Marine Science Institute of the University of the Philippines Diliman. Combining her interests in ecology and computer science, she uses field, laboratory and computational approaches in developing tools to assess the health of marine ecosystems and understanding the dynamics of the base of the marine food web and their impact on Philippine fisheries.

We talked about the work of a biological oceanographer, how a multidisciplinary approach can improve a scientist’s efficiency, the history and ecosystem of Manila Bay, what needs to be done to save Manila Bay (and why it’s so challenging), how implementing pro-environment activities without expert advice may actually do more harm than good, and more.

Listen to Ask Theory Episode 013: Paano Natin Tuluyang Maliligtas Ang Manila Bay? here:

(Full transcript to follow; watch this page for updates)

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