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Studies show heavy siltation, poor coral cover in Alcoy
By: Eleanor Valeros | Published Wednesday, October 28, 2020
Reports from DENR 7 and EMB 7 show that there is heavy siltation and corals are in poor condition in the seabed near PMSC in Alcoy town. (Junjie Mendoza)

Assessments conducted in the seawaters surrounding the Philippine Mining Service Corporation (PMSC) in Alcoy town revealed heavy siltation and poor coral conditions.

Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, with the help of the Provincial Legal Office, is set to write a letter to DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu regarding the consolidated report on the damage PMSC has caused to the marine ecosystem in the waters where it is operating.

She added that 3rd District Provincial Board (PB) Member Atty. John Ismael “Jimbo” Borgonia, chairperson of the PB Committee on the Environment and Natural Resources, will also be furnished a copy of the letter so the PB may take the necessary action.

“I think in this way we shall be properly informing EMB that the pending renewal of the water discharge permit (of PMSC) will certainly bear strong opposition from the Provincial Board should such renewal ever happen,” the governor said.

On Tuesday, October 27, Garcia met with DENR 7 and EMB 7 representatives who conducted the Coral, Fish Biomass, and Seagrass Assessment and the Ambient Air and Water Sampling in Alcoy town.

Assessment results

EMB’s sampling team showed that the Total Suspended Solids (TSS) in milligrams per liter (mg/L) collected through water samples labelled 2020-799, 2020-800, and 2020-801 taken from PSMC’s Station 1 in Barangay Poblacion, Alcoy showed excessive TSS.

The water samples taken from the surface, middle and bottom water sections last October 14 showed results of 191 mg/L, 176 mg/L, and 192 mg/L, respectively, exceeding the guideline value of 25 mg/L.

TSS is defined as solids in water that can be trapped by a filter. To measure it, the water sample is filtered through a pre-weighed filter.

As for Station 2 or the south side of PMSC, water samples 2020-796, 2020-797 and 2020-798 taken also on October 14 showed that the TSS is 191 mg/L, 176 mg/L, and 192 mg/L respectively with a guideline value of only 80 mg/L. This also showed excessive TSS.

The excess was also manifested in Station 4 located in Balud-Consolacion in Dalaguete town. Water samples 2020-790, 2020-791, and 2020-792 showed of 164 mg/L, 185 mg/L, and 192 mg/L, respectively with a guideline value of only 25 mg/L.

The samples taken showed heavy siltation in the areas assessed.

On the other hand, DENR 7’s report showed that coral reefs at the assessed sites are typically patches except portions in the MPA (or pier area) at Poblacion, Alcoy and in the deeper areas in Balud-Consolacion in Dalaguete.

Presence of old coral rubbles in both PMSC areas, high levels of macroalgae specifically Padina sp. and Sargassum sp. found at PMSC Area 1, and results of the assessment undertaken currently and in 2017 were categorized under poor condition of coral cover. (Eleanor Valeros)