Cyanide endangers Itogon folk-A A +A
Monday, December 12, 2011
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Health concerns of Itogon folk may be in jeopardy because of small-scale mining here.
The Itogon Council wants to study effects of small-scale mining activities in town in fear the stench of cyanide is putting the health of residents of the Gumatdang area in peril.
The entire body unanimously approved a resolution asking the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to conduct an air quality test at Guamatdang, Itogon.
Gumatdang residents flocked to the local council in October to complain about a strong smell from mine tails openly dried up along the roadside.
Townsfolk also complained about the smell of cyanide used in the processing of gold, as well as continuous activity of small-scale miners there.
The local council used the citizen complaints as a basis to craft the resolution asking EMB regional director Paquito Moreno to conduct an air quality test immediately.
Councilors said, “It is common knowledge the activities of small scale miners will greatly affect the quality of air that is breathed and inhaled by residents.”
The entire council agreed there is a need to conduct an air quality test in Barangay Gumatdang in a bid to put in place mitigating measures in case pollutants in the air are proved to be beyond tolerable limit for humans.
Recently, Lomino Kaniteng, president of Benguet Federation of Small-Scale Miners, said safety and sanitation are the focus of all small-scale miners in the province.
Records show there are 20,000 small-scale miners in the province comprising P3 billion worth of gold production. (Ma. Elena Catajan)
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on December 13, 2011.