Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte – The Biodiversity Partnerships Project (BPP) Information Education Communication (IEC) team Mr. Ben-Hur Viloria, the Project Officer and Mr. Procopio Resabal, the IEC Specialist recently paid visit to Lake Mainit Key Biodiversity Area (KBA) to conduct site consultation for the developing communication strategies last December 20 and 21, 2012. On the meeting transpired at the SB Session Hall. Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte, Mr. Resabal, while presenting the rationale of their visit which is to develop communication strategies for the biodiversity conservation in agricultural landscape, he also revealed the current issues that they got during the actual survey and interview with the Marginal Farmers Association (MAFIA) in San Roque, Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte.
These major issues include the dwindling of fish catch, fish deformity and contamination, water pollution due to improper waste management and presence of rice fields along the lake, and catching of wild birds. The team elaborated that some people they interviewed said that they experience low caught of fish and some fish they caught have skin disorder while others have deformed body, which they assumed to have been contaminated with chemicals. Some people they interviewed with also assumed that water pollution with chemicals from mining might be the cause of fish skin disorder and its body deformation. The team also revealed that the Magpayang river, which is one of the major tributary rivers to Lake Mainit from barangays of Tubod and also from Mainit areas has very dark water. Some people they interviewed with said that the Greenstone Mining Corporation who operated in Barangay Siana, Mainit, Surigao del Norte may contribute the water pollution by releasing their plant processed waste during the midnight. The mining plant tillage might overflowing to rivers and to lake. They said that although these were heresy, the information must be verified.
Mr. Arturo Cruje, the PPDC of Surigao del Norte and OIC LMDA Director said that the report must be verified with the authorized agencies like the MGB and the EMB. He said that there was a report in previous year related to the mining operations in Mainit that allegedly affect the overflowing of water to Mainit due to the release of water from Greenstone. Ms. Ma. Rebeca Bagnol, the Provincial Agriculture representative said the BFAR will be conducting water quality assessment with the EcoFish project which includes the Lake Mainit area as one of the project site. (continue)