BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan ordered concerned offices of the city government to immediately close the operation of a gold processing plant along Kennon Road to prevent the serious threat that it poses to the environment and the health of people living in the surrounding communities.
The local chief executive personally witnessed the smoke emitted by the operation of the illegal gold processing plant and the obnoxious odor of the smoke which are considered as a serious threat to both the environment and the health of people in barangay Camp 7 and other villages in nearby barangays of Tuba, Benguet.
“Gold processing plants, especially those that do not comply with occupational health and safety standards, are not allowed to operate in the city because of the threats that it pose to the environment and the health of the people, particularly in crowded areas,” Domogan stressed.
He directed the city’s Public Order and Safety Division (POSD), the City Health Services Office, the Permits and Licensing Division and the City Building Official to conduct an inspection on the illegal gold processing plant and subsequently effect its closure so as not to inflict serious damage to the environment in the area and the health of people living in the surrounding villages.
Earlier, numerous residents in barangay Camp 7 have been complaining to the city officials on the inconveniences caused to them by the illegal gold processing plant in the area, specifically the obnoxious odor emanating from the plant when they process gold with the use of harmful chemicals.
It can be recalled that the city government was able to demolish and close the operation of an illegal gold processing plant within the city market because of the serious threat that it poses to the environment and the health not only of the market vendors but also the general public transacting business in the market facility.
Domogan urged barangay officials to be proactive in monitoring the operation of illegal gold processing plants in their respective areas of jurisdiction so that environmentally critical businesses such as gold processing plants will not be allowed to proliferate in the city.
According to him, gold processing plants usually use harmful chemicals in separating gold and other valuable chemicals from the ore but the operators of the plants do not have the appropriate disposal facilities, thus, most of the time, waste water which contain the harmful chemicals are directly discharged to the river systems posing danger to the marine life in the area.
He cited the illegal gold processing plant along Kennon Road obviously discharges its waste water into the Bued River which should not be the case, thus, its operations must be closed to send the message that the city government means business in shutting down businesses that are environmentally critical that failed to secure the appropriate permits from concerned government agencies and the local government after having found to have complied with stringent regulations imposed for such operations.
He urged local residents to continue bringing to the attention of city officials the illegal operation not only of gold processing plants but also other business in their respective areas of jurisdiction so that appropriate actions will be done. By Dexter A. see