Zambales folk alarmed as cleanest lake in Central Luzon turns murky
CANDELARIA, Zambales—The Uacon lake in the northernmost village here has turned reddish-brown as heavy rains continued to pound the province on Friday, July 23.
Residents attributed the murky water in the lake, which is considered as the cleanest in Central Luzon, to illegal mining operations carried out in the town’s mountains.
Based on a recent bathymetric survey conducted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), three main tributaries that contribute to the volume of water and sediments of the lake are now silted.
Residents reported regularly seeing backhoes and dump trucks in the mountains. They said the backhoes were used for excavation while the trucks were transporting nickel ores.
Daniel Esteron, village chief of Uacon, has told the Inquirer that they have already reported the illegal mining activities to the municipal council.
Esteron said Candelaria Mayor Napoleon Edquid had verbally ordered the mining activities, allegedly by Yinglong Steel Corp., to be stopped.
However, the operation continues and a large part of the mountains has been excavated, Esteron said.
Flores Mistica, president of SAVE Candelaria Zambales Movement Inc., a people’s organization opposing mining in this town, said the Uacon Lake was silted when the mountainous area in the town was mined six years ago.
Mistica said the lake and the town’s farms are again at risk because of the recent mining activities.
The Inquirer tried to reach out to Yinglong Steel Corp. for comments but has yet to get a reply.
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