Mercury traces found in 3 Kalinga rivers

Published by rudy Date posted on March 27, 2011

TABUK CITY, Kalinga, Philippines  – Mercury traces were found in three major rivers in this province, prompting the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) and the Mining and Geosciences Bureau to ask local officials to ban the use of the toxic substance by small-scale miners.

Water samples taken from the Chico, Pasil and Saltan rivers were found to have mercury levels beyond the allowable limit, said engineer Ricardo Dang-iw of the EMB.

The water samples gathered from five sampling points tested positive for mercury content ranging from .00287 to .1231 microgram per cubic meter, beyond the standard level of .002.

Traces of cadmium, copper, zinc and lead were also found in the water samples although “below the allowable level,” Dang-iw said.

Dang-iw blamed small-scale miners and the dumping of pharmaceutical waste for the presence of mercury in the three rivers.

Small-scale miners in Balbalan and Pasil were earlier warned not to use mercury, which is harmful to humans and the environment, and were urged to shift to non-hazardous processing procedures using carbon in pulp and carbon in leach.

Dang-iw said there is yet no confirmed case of mercury or cadmium poisoning in Kalinga, but these substances are extremely harmful. –Artemio Dumlao (The Philippine Star)

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