Marcopper dam leaks threaten townsfolk
The leaks found at the abandoned Marcopper dam in Marinduque province have raised fears anew among townsfolk who might be forced to evacuate if threats to their health and security are not immediately addressed, according to the Department of Health (DOH).
“Worst-case scenario if these concerns are not properly addressed is to evacuate all residents out of the province,” Eduardo Janairo, DOH-Mimaropa regional director, said in a statement.
The Mines and Geosciences Bureau recently detected leaks in a diversion tunnel of Marcopper’s Makulapnit dam in Barangay Hinapulan in the capital town of Boac.
Makulapnit dam was used to collect clean water from Hinapulan creek that the company used for mining copper.
Marcopper Mining Corp. shut down in 1996 after one of its drainage tunnels gave way, unleashing about 200 million tons of mine tailings into Boac River.
“We need to prepare a contingency plan to mitigate the effects of the Marcopper mining incident and to formulate immediate and concrete solutions to provide the necessary responses to the effects of the four-decade mining incident that has affected the health, livelihood and lives of residents in 20 barangays in Marinduque,” he said.
According to Janairo, interventions for the effective cleanup of mine tailings will be started immediately, which includes Phytoremediation—the planting of various trees like the Beema bamboo—to remove, transfer and destroy degradation of contaminants in soils, surface water and groundwater in affected areas.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.