Toxins in water: Seven banned chemicals found in city’s watersheds- according to study

April 17th, 2013 by

Davao City’s main sources of drinking water are contaminated by eight types of pesticides, seven of which are banned from use, the study by the Interface Development Interventions revealed.According to the study presented during a forum in Ateneo de Davao University yesterday, the sampled waters were taken from Panigan-Tamugan and Talomo- Lipadas and their junctions.

“These are what we call persistent pollutants,” said toxicologist Romeo Quijano of UP Manila, meaning that these chemicals released years ago and banned after they were found to be harmful to humans and the environment.

Traces of the banned pesticides dieldrin, aldrin, chlordane, heptachlor, lindane, endrin and DDT were discovered in the samples, he said.

Quijano said that while there are ways to sequester chemicals from the water to make it potable, such as carbon filtration method, but it only works if the body of water contained the lowest concentration of toxic substances.

Armand Pacudan, Mindanao operations manager of the Foundation for the Philippine Environment, said while the water’s toxicity levels are manageable, the communities and the ecosystem surrounding the watersheds are endangered.

IDIS executive director Anne Fuertes said that their organization is finding it difficult to obtain consistent information that can then enable them to pinpoint from where exactly these chemicals are coming from, whether from nearby plantations or if they predate the plantations.

“Although we are not in the business of pointing them out, we have to at least identify them,” she said of the plantations or factories operating near the watersheds.

“Along with this is the proposal of how to make them find and use alternatives to chemical pesticides,” she said.

The study was funded on a budget of P500, 000 from DKA Austria and the Misereor of Germany. Most of the money went to lab and field equipment.

She said that with the results of the 8-month study, IDIS as well as other stakeholders are hoping the government; both national and local, can come up with policies to regulate and standardize the use and disposal of chemicals, as well put up consistent monitoring on the health of families in large plantations through multi-sectoral cooperation.  (SALUD ISABEL PETALCORIN, Mindanao Times)