PUERTO PRINCESA – The government has started the restoration of a mercury-contaminated lake in Palawan that was previously used by a mining company.
The rehabilitation of the lake in Barangay Sta. Lourdes, Puerto Princesa, Palawan is led and funded by the environment department’s Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB). It will have three phases.
Phase 1 will cover the pit lake’s outer perimeter fencing, while Phase 2 will include the inner perimeter fencing.
The third phase will entail the construction of pit benches, including engineering and landscaping, slope protection and vegetation, and construction of a three-meter “hike-jog-bike” pathway with park lighting.
The lake was formerly mined by Palawan Quicksilver Mine, Inc. (PQMI).
The MGB said residents who live around the lake are at risk of exposure to toxic mercury used by miners to extract ore. They will be relocated to a safer area.
In a visit to Palawan, Environment Secretary Gina Lopez and city Mayor Lucilo Bayron assured homeowners that they will be given a proper relocation site and livelihood before they are asked to leave their homes.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources and Puerto Princesa local government are set to conduct medical check-ups to ensure residents’ health.