EMB fines mining firm for contaminating lake-A A +A
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
THE Environment Management Bureau (EMB) in Eastern Visayas penalized a mining company for contaminating a lake resulting in fish kills affecting fish pens and cages of a local fishermen’s group.
EMB Eastern Visayas fined Nicua Mining Company P50,000 in consonance to Presidential Decree 1586, after it was found that waste water coming from its mining site was traced to have entered Lake Bito in MacArthur, Leyte.
“The penalty imposed (against Nicua) was a result of our investigation indicating that there was indeed a backflow of waste water coming from them which entered Lake Bito,” said Engr. Reynaldo Barra, officer-in-charge of the EMB’s pollution and control division.
“The waste water, although not massive, had caused the contamination, and turbidity of the lake, thereby affecting the quality of water,” he added.
Barra said one of the conditions set under the mining company’s Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) was that it should implement mitigation measures in connection to its mining activities that would not result in the destruction of the environment or, in this case, contamination of body of water.
“They accepted our findings that there was a contamination in Lake Bito due to their operations last May 12. They did not question the results of our investigation,” Barra said.
The EMB, who conducted the investigation on May 12, issued the notice of violation to the management of Nicua last May 18.
In a text message to the media, Engr. Elmer Ragas, operation manager of the Nicua, said they paid the penalty last June 13 in compliance to Presidential Decree 1586, which establishes the environmental impact statement systems.
The company has been mining black magnetite in Barangay Pongon since 2010. Pongon is separated from Villa Imelda, where the protesting fishermen’s group resides, by a creek leading to Lake Bito.
But Jesus Cabias, president of the Lake Bito Fisherfolk Association who maintains fish pens and cages in Lake Bito, brushed off the fine imposed by the EMB to the mining company.
“It was only the EMB who received the fine. What about us fishermen, affected by their operations? We also seek compensation from them,” said Cabias in a separate text message.
Cabias, however, could not determine how many tilapias died due to the incident. But, during the first fish kill incident on March 15, 21 tons of tilapia valued at P1.7 million died. (Leyte Samar Daily Express)