CURRIMAO, Ilocos Norte — A multi-million private seaport reclamation project in this town can not just start just yet as the local government unit of Currimao continue to oppose it.

In a letter furnished to the Office of the Governor, town mayor Gladys Go Que cited several copies of research materials about Basic Oxygen Furnace (BOF) slags downloaded in Mandarin language from the Taiwanese website and officially translated by the Universe Translation Service Corp, also of Taiwan’s Republic of China.

The translated copies along with a photocopy of the original document was also furnished to the members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, who endorsed the project upon assurance of several local experts, the Omnico Resources Inc. invited at a committee hearing to boost their claim that the imported materials are safe for use as backfilling materials in the proposed seaport reclamation project.

On December 4, Engineer Remedios Jimenez, head of the Environmental Monitoring and Laboratory Section of the Environment Management Bureau-Region 1 and Dr. Rodolfo Quebral of the University of the Philippines Institute of Geological Sciences attested that BOF slags are not chemically reactive, hence it is not hazardous and non-toxic.

This is however refuted by the local government unit of Currimao citing several reports from Yilan, Changhua, Tainan and Kaohsiung Counties that there had been pollution cases of discarded furnace slag during the years 2009, 2013 and 2014 respectively.

In Houbi township, Tainan County for example, report said the furnace slag sewage of Chao Hsiang Technology Co., Ltd. flowed into a rice field. It was found “the concentration of heavy metal Cr in the soil reached 692mg/kg which is nearly three times of 250mg control standard.”

Another report from Daliao in Kaousiung stated that discarded furnace slag was “illegally thrown away at the seven places and the duck of a local duck farm was contaminated with dioxin, which according to a report, it is more two to six times than the standard.”

In view of this, Provincial Board member Joel Garcia, chair of the committee on environment, said the Ilocos Norte board will again conduct a public hearing on January 14 to once and for all shed light on all these opposing views and concerns of both parties.

He also revealed the OMNICO has informally invited the provincial board should they consider visiting Taiwan to conduct ocular inspection of several sites where BOF slags were successfully used for reclamation project. PNA /