Philippines: Dredging Will Not Cause Flooding, Marine Expert Says

A marine science expert said dredging will not cause flooding as alleged by anti-mining advocates in at least five municipalities in the province.

Dr. Fernando Siringan of the Marine Environment and Resources Foundation-Marine Science Institute of the University of the Philippines clarified that sand per se is not a binding material but the mud present in it, correcting the information during his presentation on the geomorphic changes of the lower Cagayan River held here last week.

Sand is not a binding material. It is the mud,” he told hundreds of Cagayanos who attended his presentation on the Institute’s findings on the Cagayan River in relation to pocket operations of magnetite mining in the area.

The research was done to find ways and means to lessen flooding, reduce riverbank erosion and evaluate potential site for the establishment of a new Port of Aparri.

According to the research, the channel along the mouth of the Cagayan River in Aparri is constricted by almost 50 percent due to the presence of sand bars, along its west bank.

He said there has been changes in the depth of the river where the deepest part at 40 feet is located between the barangays of Agusi in Camalaniugan and Toran Aparri.

Earlier, anti-dredging advocates in Gonzaga, Buguey, Camalaniugan, Aparri and Lal-lo claimed that mining the magnetite sand will result to flooding as no material will hold together the soil along riverbanks and seashores.

It was learned that the mouth of the river is 20 feet deep and should be dredged to not more than 8 meters depth.

He suggested that the dredged materials can be used for lost land at the same time can elevate the present river bank. However, he also cautioned that there should be a schedule of maintenance dredging and a team from Aparri to be formed to monitor the river level.

The provincial government commissioned Siringan and his group last year for a three month study in aid of a plan to finally dredge the lower Cagayan River .

In a related development, Siringan said that if and when the government decide to dredge the river, the province should buy its own dredger machine and to adopt the earlier recommendation made by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which likewise suggested the area near the mouth of the river should be dredged.

Siringan claimed the province has enough mineral resources like iron and titanium that Cagayan should put up its own sand processing plant.

Cagayano investors should be encourage to go into the project and part of the income derived from the venture should be earmarked for environment protection including rehabilitation of the river,” he said.

[mappress]

Dredging Today Staff, January 25, 2012;

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