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Contaminated sea water affects salt production in Guimaras

January 26, 2007

HUNDREDS of salt makers in San Lorenzo and Sibunag towns are apprehensive on whether to pursue their regular season of salt production or not.

The salt makers are still waiting for an official declaration from Task Force Solar Oil Spill (TF-SOS) or the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) if sea water in Guimaras are now safe for salt making.

Salt-making season usually starts in February or March to May every year when the dry season is at its peak.

But salt producers in the island are now apprehensive that the Solar 1/Petron oil spill has massively affected their sea water quality that they could not anymore produce the same quality salt they are making for several years now.

The provincial government of Guimaras advised salt producers to defer their usual mass production until the provincial government received official result of water quality tests conducted by composite teams from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources0 (DENR), Department of Health (DOH), Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and Department of Social Welfare and Development, among government agencies.

Guimaras Public Information Officer Dienfield Gange said they received recommendation from DENR for salt makers to produce salt samples in various sites in both towns to test the result.

“For testing, we advise salt makers to produce small amount of salt taken from various sites in San Lorenzo and Sibunag and some parts of Buenavista to see to it if it is now safe to produce in large scale,” Gange said.

Meanwhile, the town of Sibunag also suffered the most especially in their seaweed industry. The town is recipient of a P1 million financial assistance from government and non-government organizations to develop or improve the town’s seaweeds industry.

The provincial government’s 30-year development plan starting 2005 until 2035 was interrupted by the oil spill incident.

One of the major features of the development plan is improving seaweed production in Sibunag and Nueva Valencia and the salt making industry of San Lorenzo. (PNA via Balita.org, Jan. 25, 2007)

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