NRCP seeks replication of bioremediation tech among agencies

By Ma. Cristina Arayata

February 7, 2019, 8:09 pm

MANILA -- The National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP) seeks Congress' support in replicating the bioremediation technology developed by the University of the Philippines (UP), among government agencies, an executive has said.

NRCP representatives, together with member Nelly Aggangan who developed the technology went to the House of Representatives on Thursday to present Aggangan's research project. Bioremediation is removing heavy metals and other toxic wastes from contaminated sites.

"We wanted to convince them (legislators) that this bioremediation technology is important for the bills that they will make. We want it to be replicated by other government agencies, like the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) and other agencies involved in reforestation," NRCP Research Division chief, Rubie Raterta told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

She added that the local government of Mogpog, Marinduque, which has been helping Aggangan in her research project since 2015, has been adopting the technology.

Basically, Aggangan's research project eyes greening the mine tailings, or dumpsites of mining wastes.

Aggangan explained that mine tailings are brown due to the absence of plants, which don't survive if the soil is acidic, has no essential nutrient, and contains heavy metals, such as lead, copper, cadmium and zinc.

"Heavy metals are toxic to all living organisms," she said.

Aggangan's project site was in Mariduque, which she described as a place surrounded by various ecosystems, marine bodies and communities.

Thus, there is a need to "regreen" the mine tailing area to prevent exposure of communities to heavy metals.

"This technology will regreen the area, and also reduce exposure to cancer-causing metals," Aggangan said in a video presentation.

She said the BIOTECH in UP Los Baños has developed microbial biofertilizers that would provide nutrients and water to plants.

She also narrated that in her research project, they have planted tree seedlings, such as narra and acacia. "After a year, there was an impressive growth recorded, with 95 percent survival for the treated seedlings," she said.

Raterta, meanwhile, explained that this is the first time the NRCP has approached the Congress, hoping for a collaboration for their member's research project.

"Dr. Aggangan's project started in 2015, and we had to wait for those seedlings to grow and see the results. The local government of Marinduque provided her the space for that project. It was an area that was abandoned for 30 years," she said.

Raterta added that Aggangan still needs to go back to Marinduque and do other things for this project. (PNA)