By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
E.B. Magalona town Mayor Marvin Malacon has disregarded the claims being made by local environmentalist groups in Negros Occidental that the government-back dredging plans in his town will cause damage to the locality’s blue crab industry.
According to Malacon, the project was approved by the national government first before being forwarded to the local government unit.
Malacon said their aim is to declog the silted river mouths of the town, which he pointed out had been causing flooding for years in the locality.
He further pointed out that he would be the first one to oppose the project if it would affect the town’s livelihood, and accused the environmentalist groups of “propagating false information.”
“We, Saraviahanons, are fortunate, that the national government, through First Terradev Dev’t Corp., will clear our waterways, for free,” he said.
The dredging activities is the main solution to the flooding, which also being experienced by other low-lying local government units in Negros Occidental, as recommended also by the provincial government, Departments of Environment and Natural Resources, Transportation, Public Works and Highways as well as Interior and Local Government.
Earlier this week, Negrense environmentalist group, Green Alert Environmental Network (GAEN) made a warning to public officials in the said town that the dredging activities in the town’s rivers could lead to the death of the blue crab industry.
They pointed out that such activities could be a “double jeopardy” pointing out it could worsen the floods in the area and could bring hunger.
“There is no assurance from the government officials of who will pay for their livelihood loss,” the group claimed.
The extraction of black sand will release harmful substances and increase water turbidity and litters toxic metals that negatively affect marine biodiversity, and slow land subsidence may occur.
They said black sand mining can cause much economic damage aside from flooding, although spread out over a longer period.
The group said the sustainable backbone economy of E.B. Magalona is the blue swimming crabs industry. Negros Occidental has produced about five tons of blue swimming crabs per day, amounting to an P8-billion industry, the fourth largest in the country based on a data released in 2016.
The environmentalist group is also urging the Negrenses to be vocal over the proposed dredging activity in order to save the town’s crab industry./DGB, WDJ