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Research council urges lawmakers to legislate a ‘biological response’

Policymakers, especially those in the House of Representatives, are now being urged to draft laws mandating mining companies to use bioremediation technologies in rehabilitating mined-out areas.

According to National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP) Member Nelly Aggangan, miners must be mandated to implement bioremediation technologies as part of their rehabilitation plans.

“We should adopt and replicate this technology—and this technology will address the environmental and health issues in the mining industry,” she said during the NRCP-Legislative Scientific Forum for Policy Development.

Her research “Bioremediation Strategies for rehabilitation of Abandoned Mine Tailing Area in Mogpog, Marinduque” noted that bioremediation technologies helped trees flourish in areas which previously hosted mining activities.

Bioremediation is a “biological response to environmental abuse” wherein microorganisms are used to clean up contaminated sites.

In her research, Aggangan found that seedlings treated with fungi and bacteria exhibited significantly higher survival rate in mined-out sites compared with untreated plants.

Seedlings that underwent such treatment were found to have a survival rate of 95 percent and an intensified tolerance to high acidity and heavy presence of metal in the soil such as copper, lead, cadmium, and zinc.

Symbiosis exists between the fungus and the root of the host plant where the fungus colonizes the root system facilitating increased water and nutrient uptake, Aggangan noted.

While miners are required by Philippine laws to rehabilitate areas after mining activities are over, Aggangan urged lawmakers to mandate miners to use bioremediation technologies in their rehabilitation efforts.

“‘Yung policy ba, ‘yun ang kailangan naming mga researchers, ‘yung force na nasa posisyon,” she said during the forum at the House of Representatives in Quezon City.

“Sana matulungan niyo kami, as researchers. Meron kayong magawa,” Aggangan added. —VDS, GMA News