The Agroforestry Research, Development and Extension Center (ARDEC) presented the results of the four-year research and development (R&D) activities on the rehabilitation of a mercury-contaminated lake in Brgy. Sta. Lourdes, Puerto Princessa City, Palawan on October 24, 2022 during the 17th regular session of the city council of Puerto Princesa.
Mr. Alvin Angelo A. Salting, Senior Science Research Specialist and Chief of ARDEC Research and Development Unit, presented before the Hon. Vice Mayor Ma. Nancy Socrates as presiding officer, eleven city councilors and the media, the initial results and recommendation of the five component projects. He discussed the mercury characterization in soil (sediments) and water of the abandoned pit lake and emphasized that the contamination in soil is beyond worrisome level.
He also presented and discussed the project’s recommendations based on the results of the activities conducted emphasizing the importance of phytoremediation in water using aquatic plants and phytostabilization using identified forest tree species with heavy metal accumulation potential.
Mr. Salting likewise encouraged the city council to pursue the relocation of nearby settlers away from the cinnabar-concentrated area to prevent them from exposure to mercury contamination.
The technical team from ARDEC also recommended to intensifying information, education, and communication (IEC) activities in Sta. Lourdes and its nearby barangay of Tagburos to increase the level of knowledge, attitude and practice of the residents on the impact of mercury contamination as well as capacitate all barangay health workers on the impact of mercury on their health and the environment and educate them about the mercury cycle and its properties.
After the presentation, the city council of Puerto Princesa proposed some resolutions. Among them are the City Council Resolution No. 285-2022, a resolution sponsored by Hon. Luis Marcaida III earnestly requests the BFAR-Puerto Princesa to conduct an examination of the condition of the aquaculture in Honda Bay in connection with the rehabilitation of the mercury-contaminated lake in Brgy. Sta. Lourdes; and City Council Resolution No. 287-2022, earnestly requesting the DENR-Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) to continue the rehabilitation of the mercury-contaminated lake in Brgy. Sta. Lourdes.
Hon. Luis M. Marcaida III also urged other agencies, such as the Department of Agriculture, DENR-MGB, Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD), and members of the Palawan Knowledge Platform (PKP) to conduct research and development as well as rehabilitation activities to help in solving the problem of mercury contamination in Brgy. Sta. Lourdes and Tagburos.
The MGB-funded R&D activities of ARDEC started in 2019 with six components, namely: rapid site assessment; phytostabilization of mercury-contaminated areas using forest tree species with heavy metal accumulation potential; zoostabilization potential of pillbugs; phytoremediation for mercury-contaminated water; organic filter media for mercury-contaminated Tagburos River; and IEC and institutional mechanism. CCGSumalinog, ARDEC