ASIA'S FUTURE CITIES: Cambodian start-up introduces anti-pollution masks


PHNOM PENH: Every day, millions of people in Phnom Penh fill their lungs with bad air.

Whenever they breathe – roughly about 30,000 times a day for an adult – their respiratory system becomes exposed to harmful pollutants hovering over the city.

Some of them can be felt or smelled, but many are so fine they can reach the deepest parts of the lungs undetected and have the potential to cause premature death.

“It’s like you eat the same poison every single day; you don’t feel it now but you will later,” said Veasna Srey, a Cambodian-born French from Toulouse who repatriated to Phnom Penh last year.

During the first few months after his return, Veasna struggled to breathe and his partner suffered from bronchitis, an inflammation of the air passages. Their symptoms were a result of prolonged exposure to air pollutants in Phnom Penh, from toxic gases like carbon monoxide to small particles such as PM2.5 – one of the deadliest forms of air pollution.

A PM2.5 is tiny. It has a diametre of less than 2.5 micrometres or about 3 per cent the diametre of a human hair. This means it can penetrate deep inside the lungs, where it either remains for long periods or passes into the blood stream unfiltered. Long-term exposure to these particles can result in cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, and cancers.

A lot of them fill Phnom Penh’s air but only a handful of millions of its residents know they exist. So when Veasna searched for an anti-pollution mask that can filter these harmful particles in the city last year, he found none.

“I only found surgical masks but they’re not the same. It’s like using a cap instead of a helmet. So, I decided to import anti-pollution masks with proper filters from abroad.”

PM2.5 particles have a diametre of less than 2.5 micrometres or about 3 per cent the diametre of a human hair. (Photo: United States Environmental Protection Agency)

As it turned out, the bad air has created a window of opportunity for the couple. Their fruitless search for effective anti-pollution masks made them realise there was none in the polluted city, and subsequently drove them to provide some for local Cambodians.

Still, the high cost of imported masks – more than US$50 apiece – means many people will never be able to afford the protection.

“So I researched about air pollution and started making the masks from scratch,” Veasna told Channel NewsAsia.

His Cambodian start-up KamasK came up with two affordable designs he now sells for US$8 and US$10. One of them can trap fine PM2.5 such as combustion particles, organic compounds and metals, while the other can capture PM0.1 – even finer particles.

Anti-pollution masks produced by Veasna can trap ultrafine airborne particles. (Photo: Pichayada Promchertchoo)

They are the first of their kind to be made by a Cambodian company, according to Veasna. The filter contains carbon active charcoal and micro fibres that can be worn for 70 hours, and cost an additional US$6-7 for a pack of three.

“Our goal is to make them cheap for Cambodians. I might have grown up in France but I was born Cambodian. So I want to help Cambodians protect themselves,” Veasna said.

“I plan to make them even cheaper when we can produce more.”

AIR POLLUTION “STILL ACCEPTABLE”

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the average annual concentrations of PM2.5 in a city should not exceed 10 microgrammes per cubic metre of air (μg/m3).

In the Cambodian capital, however, WHO’s data shows they can go up to 25 μg/m3 annually. And of 180 countries worldwide, its air quality ranks 148th in the Environmental Performance Index, indicative of a gradual downward trend over the past decade.

Grime built up on a building in Phnom Penh. (Photo: Pichayada Promchertchoo)

Cambodia’s air pollution may seem worrisome but for its own government, it is not a major concern.

Based on the national air quality standard set by the government itself, levels of dust and air pollution in Phnom Penh are not considered unhealthy.

“Air pollution in Phnom Penh has increased but the level is still acceptable,” said Thiv Sophearith, director of the Environment Ministry’s Air Quality and Noise Management Department.

But for many of its residents, it is not good enough. On the street, many riders wear masks to stop airborne pollutants from entering their lungs. However, most of them are surgical masks, which are not designed to filter fine particles such as PM2.5.

And as the city presses ahead with fast paced development, with more construction and pollutants in the air, there are increasing risks of worsening air quality and subsequent impacts on public health.

Prolonged exposure to PM2.5 air pollutants can result in respiratory diseases and premature death. (Photo: Pichayada Promchertchoo)

According to WHO, about 92 per cent of the global population is breathing polluted air and Southeast Asia is one of the regions with the highest air pollution levels in the world.

In 2012, air pollution contributed to 6.5 million deaths worldwide, including 7,000 in Cambodia. Some of the main causes included industrial activities, household fuel and waste burning, and inefficient modes of transport.

“What we’re mostly concerned about is vehicles because they’ve increased very fast. It’s the biggest challenge we’re facing,” Sophearith told Channel NewsAsia, adding the environment ministry will work with the transport ministry in monitoring and minimising pollution caused by transportation.

But until actions are implemented, the residents of Phnom Penh may need to rely on whatever masks they can afford.

“Masks are not the solution to air pollution,” Veasna said. “They’re like life jackets to help people save themselves.”

Follow Pichayada Promchertchoo on Twitter @PichayadaCNA



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Australia to begin evacuating cyclone-hit island resorts


SYDNEY: Emergency services plan to evacuate thousands of people stranded on resort islands with water supplies running low in Australia’s tropical northeast on Thursday (Mar 30), two days after Cyclone Debbie tore through the region.

Tens of thousands more people on the mainland remained without power and many regions were cut off by flooding as officials warned that more heavy rainfall was on the way.

“The rain is coming, significant rain,” Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Mark Roche told Australian Broadcasting Corp radio.

Cyclone Debbie struck on Tuesday, smashing tourist resorts, flattening canefields and shutting down coal mines in Queensland state as a category four storm, one rung below the most dangerous wind speed level.

The storm, now downgraded to a tropical low, continued to track over Queensland’s central interior in a southeasterly direction on Thursday, slowing attempts by the army and emergency workers to start what is expected to be a lengthy clean-up operation.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is due to tour the region later on Thursday with tourism and agriculture expected to take a major hit from the storm.

Resorts along the world-famous Great Barrier Reef and coastal areas bore the brunt of the storm with wind gusts stronger than 260 kph (160 mph).

Pictures from Hamilton Island and Airlie Beach showed streets stacked with snapped trees, roof tiles and furniture, with wrecked yachts washed ashore.

People walk past damaged shops after Cyclone Debbie hit Airlie Beach. (AAP/Dan Peled/via REUTERS)

The naval ship HMAS Choules was on its way up to the Whitsunday Islands with food supplies and special equipment to begin repairing and rebuilding infrastructure.

In the Bowen Basin, the world’s single largest source of coal used to make steel, BHP Billiton, Glencore, and Stanmore Coal all said work at mines there was halted until further notice. Analysts said Debbie could push coking coal prices higher.

Hundreds of hectares of sugarcane crops had been flattened and Wilmar said its sugar mills were stilled at Proserpine and Sarina.

One woman, a tourist, died on Monday in a car crash that police said was due to wild weather on Debbie’s approach. Another two people were injured as the storm passed through.



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Wild Thai tiger cub footage sparks hope for endangered species


BANGKOK: Conservationists on Tuesday (Mar 29) hailed the discovery of a new breeding population of tigers in Thailand as a “miraculous” victory for a sub-species nearly wiped out by poaching.

Images of some tigers including six cubs, captured by camera traps in an eastern Thai jungle throughout 2016, confirm the presence of what is only the world’s second known breeding population of the endangered Indochinese tiger.

The only other growing population – the largest in the world with about three dozen tigers – is based in a western forest corridor in Thailand near the border with Myanmar.

“The extraordinary rebound of eastern Thailand’s tigers is nothing short of miraculous,” said John Goodrich, the tiger programme director at Panthera, a wild cat preservation group that backed the survey.

Two Indochinese tigers roam the forest in Eastern Thailand. (Photo: AFP / DNP-FREELAND / PANTHERA)

The camera trap footage, which shows female tigers and their cubs traipsing through the leafy jungle, was captured with help from the anti-trafficking group Freeland and Thai park authorities.

Indochinese tigers, which are generally smaller than their Bengal and Siberian counterparts, once roamed across much of Asia.

But today only an estimated 221 remain, with the vast majority in Thailand and a handful in neighbouring Myanmar.

Aggressive poaching, weak law enforcement and habitat loss has rendered the animals all but extinct in southern China, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, according to scientists.

Tiger farms around the region have also boosted the trafficking trade by propping up demand for tiger parts, which are treasured as talismans and used in traditional medicines popular in China.

Indochinese tigers are generally smaller than their Bengal and Siberian counterparts. (Photo: AFP / DNP-FREELAND / PANTHERA)

Conservationists and park officials attributed Thailand’s success story to a rise in counter-poaching efforts over the past few decades.

But they warned that the breeding populations remained vulnerable and would not thrive without a sustained commitment to busting poachers and taking down the lucrative trafficking trade.

Today only an estimated 221 Indochinese tigers remain. (Photo: AFP / DNP-FREELAND / PANTHERA)

The Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai forest complex, where the latest young cubs were caught on some of the 156 cameras, still hosts a only modest tiger density of 0.63 tigers per 100 square kilometres.

It is a ratio on par with some of the world’s most threatened tiger habitats, according to Freeland, but still means there is a population of at least 23 of the big beasts roaming wild.

“It’s crucial to continue the great progress made by the Thai government to bolster protection for tigers at the frontlines,” said Kraisak Choonhavan, the group’s board chairman.

“As long as the illegal trade in tigers continues, they will need protection.”



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Sewol 'remains' are animal bones: South Korea ministry


SEOUL: Bone fragments recovered from the wreck of South Korea’s Sewol ferry are from an animal and not human remains, the maritime ministry said Tuesday (Mar 28). 

Authorities had earlier announced the pieces were human – raising the prospect of closure for families of at least some of the nine passengers whose bodies were never found after the 2014 maritime disaster.

But the ministry corrected its initial statement, declaring: “According to test results by the National Forensic Service, they have been confirmed to be seven animal bone fragments.”

They were suspected to be pig bones, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said, citing forensic officials.

The wreck was brought to the surface last week in a complex salvage operation, nearly three years after it went down with the death of more than 300 people, and placed onto a semi-submersible ship that will finally bring it to shore.

Almost all the victims were schoolchildren and nine bodies were still unaccounted for, raising the prospect that they could still be inside the vessel and leaving their families emotionally trapped in the grieving process.

Lee Cheol Jo, a senior official in charge of the salvage operation, had told reporters the fragments recovered on the deck of the semi-submersible Dockwise White Marlin, ranged in length from four to 18 centrimetres.

“They are suspected to have been found among sand that leaked out from an opening at the entrance of the vessel or through a window,” Lee had said, adding that officials from the National Forensic Service, as well as the coast guard and the health ministry had been dispatched to identify the remains.

The process was expected to take around two to three weeks.

The operation to raise the 145-metre ferry, which has cost more than US$82 million, is believed to be among the largest-ever recoveries of a wreck in one piece.

The salvage operation had been a key demand of the families of the nine missing victims – four schoolchildren, two teachers and a married couple and their child – who were moving to Jeju, the ship’s destination, to start a new life.

Divers wrapped up their search in November 2014, and since then a handful of relatives set up home at Paengmok, a port an hour away from the accident site.

The semi-submersible is expected to set off for Mokpo, a large port on the southern coast some 87 kilometres (54 miles) away, on Thursday.

As part of the salvage operation, underwater barriers were set up around the wreck and searches were to be carried out in the area as well as on board the Sewol.

The sinking, one of the country’s worst-ever maritime disasters, dealt a crushing blow to now-ousted president Park Geun Hye.

Investigations concluded the tragedy was largely man-made – the cumulative result of an illegal redesign of the ship which made it top-heavy, an overloaded cargo bay, inexperienced crew and a questionable relationship between the ship operators and state regulators.



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South Korea ferry salvors find human remains: Ministry


SEOUL: Salvage workers who raised South Korea’s sunken Sewol ferry found bone fragments on Tuesday (Mar 28) believed to be from victims missing since the 2014 disaster, the maritime ministry said.

The wreck was brought to the surface last week in a complex salvage operation, nearly three years after it went down with the death of more than 300 people, and placed onto a semi-submersible ship that will finally bring it to shore.

Almost all the victims were schoolchildren and nine bodies were still unaccounted for, raising the prospect that they could still be inside the vessel and leaving their families emotionally trapped in the grieving process.

Six fragments of bone ranging in length from four to 18 centimetres were recovered on the deck of the semi-submersible Dockwise White Marlin, Lee Cheol Jo, a senior official in charge of the salvage operation, told reporters.

“They are suspected to have been found among sand that leaked out from an opening at the entrance of the vessel or through a window,” Lee said.

There was no indication whether they were from a single victim, or several individuals.

Officials from the National Forensic Service as well as the coast guard and the health ministry have been dispatched to identify the remains, a process expected to take around two to three weeks, Lee said.

The operation to raise the 145-metre ferry, which has cost more than US$82 million, is believed to be among the largest-ever recoveries of a wreck in one piece.

The salvage operation had been a key demand of the families of the nine missing victims – four schoolchildren, two teachers and a married couple and their child – who were moving to Jeju, the ship’s destination, to start a new life.

Divers wrapped up their search in November 2014, and since then a handful of relatives set up home at Paengmok, a port an hour away from the accident site.

The semi-submersible is expected to set off for Mokpo, a large port on the southern coast some 87 kilometres (54 miles) away, on Thursday.

As part of the salvage operation, underwater barriers were set up around the wreck and searches will be carried out in the area as well as on board the Sewol.

The sinking, one of the country’s worst-ever maritime disasters, dealt a crushing blow to now-ousted president Park Geun Hye.

Investigations concluded the tragedy was largely man-made – the cumulative result of an illegal redesign of the ship which made it top-heavy, an overloaded cargo bay, inexperienced crew and a questionable relationship between the ship operators and state regulators.



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Former yoga missionary could bring Philippine mining industry to its knees


MANILA: The Philippines’ environment secretary, Gina Lopez, comes from one of the country’s wealthiest families, with business stakes in media empires, energy and manufacturing. But she had mostly stayed away from the limelight, choosing a life of travelling, spirituality and yoga.

When she returned to the Philippines, she became a passionate advocate for the environment using the charity arms of her family’s media company, ABS-CBN, to fund her projects.

That all changed when she was appointed environment secretary under the new Duterte administration and took on some of the country’s biggest businesses, despite little technical education.

Lopez has now threatened to shut down two-thirds of the country’s mining sites and cancel a further 75 mining contracts that were approved by her predecessor – a pipeline of mining investments worth about 1.1 trillion Philippine pesos (US$22 million).

THE PUSH-BACK

Her announcements shocked the mining community of the fifth-most mineral-rich country in the world for gold, nickel, copper and chromite – the Philippines has US$840 billion worth of untapped mineral wealth, according to an estimate by the country’s Mines and Geosciences Bureau.

Many of the companies are now fighting back, appealing both to the president and to the courts.

Members from the pro-mining community watch Philippines’ environment secretary Gina Lopez on TV, booing her. (Photo: Aya Lowe)

A nine-page complaint was filed on Mar 19 by the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP), charging Lopez with causing “undue injuries” to the mining industry.

The group lamented that as early as September last year, Lopez had already announced the suspension of about 20 mining firms even before the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR) mining audit was completed.

COMP said that most, if not all its members, have acquired International Standards Organization (ISO) 140001 certification, indicating that they have passed the highest environmental standards for mining.

There is also a lobby for a congressional committee to reject her nomination as environment secretary. Lopez was recently bypassed by the Commission on Appointments during her first round, only to be re-appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte. She will face the committee again in May when congress resumes.

But despite the enemies she has made, she said she will continue her mission with confidence, knowing she has the backing of the president, who has referred to her as a “crusader”.

In a press briefing in March, Duterte declared: “You think you can live with it (environmental degradation) because of the 70 billion (pesos) or because they contributed to campaign funds? Not me.”

He was referring to the estimated 70 billion pesos mining contributes a year in revenue.

THE ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE

For Delta Dumay, who comes from a family of farmers, the mining industry has impacted her source of living.

Her family had always benefited from two good yearly harvests – until now. A river runs along the side of her house and it used to provide water for irrigation for her rice fields, but now it is killing her crops. 

According to Dumay, her troubles started when a mining company set up in the mountains above the river. They began to notice heavier siltation in the river, increased flooding during the rainy season and more dust during the dry season.

“Of course it really began to affect our farmlands. And there were no fish in our river and we couldn’t catch anything,” she said.

Dumay said she used to be able to harvest 300 sacks of rice each season, but now this has been reduced to around 100 sacks.

Her town is located in Cantilan, Surigao del Sur in Mindanao, one of the country’s poorest regions, but also its most mineral-rich. There are 23 large-scale mines operating in the area.

One of the agricultural areas affected by siltation in Cantilan, Surigao del Sur, Philippines. (Photo: Aya Lowe)

According to Lopez, the massive destruction of ecosystems in mining tenements – the massive cutting of trees, blasting of mountains, the digging and hauling to extract mineral ores – are to blame for the siltation of rivers, as well as degradation of coastal environments that affect agricultural and fishery production.

She said: “It causes suffering if you are a fisherman or a farmer; it aggravates your quality of life. Only 20 per cent of the labour force are people that come from the island. The ones that benefit are the local governments.

‘It’s not a viable economy where some people benefit and everyone suffers. But the most grievous thing there is the fact that the place is beautiful and the continuous mining there is killing the economic potential of the place. It’s crazy.”

Dumay said that while she knows of other communities nearby who receive money from mining companies, there are many who do not.

“They (the people from the mining company) came and did a test on the water and said there was no evidence we were affected so they didn’t offer compensation,” she said.

THE WARNING

Around 95 per cent of large-scale mining companies practise open-pit mining and Lopez has mostly focused on these large-scale open-pit mines. Mining experts said it is the fastest, safest and most efficient way of extracting mineral ore, but according to Lopez, it causes massive destruction of forest ecosystems.

“The 15 that we closed are in watersheds and I feel that to even consider allowing them to continue mining in the watershed goes against the spirit of the mining law, which says you should not put at risk the lives of the present and future generations in a watershed,” said Lopez.

Miners dig for mineral ore inside a tunnel in Mt Diwata. (Photo: Aya Lowe)

In her presentations, Lopez repeatedly cites the Tampakan Copper-Gold Project in Mindanao. She said forests, watersheds and highly productive agricultural areas the size of 700 football fields will be devastated once proponents of potentially the biggest gold-mining project begin commercial operation.

“That area is the food basket of Mindanao,” Lopez said. “There are rivers and farms in those areas.”

She said miners use dynamite to tear down mountains or dig holes to fast-track the extraction of mineral ore.

Said Jaybee Garbganera of the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement: “By the nature of the industry itself, mining is going to introduce permanent changes in the physical landscape and the topography of the Philippines.

“When you start doing mining, your operations are going to cut trees, use water from the river, use the forests which are the same resources of indigenous people.

“An introduction of a mining site in any area in the Philippines will likely impact the local environmental and cultural life of the population. This is different from any continental country like Canada or Australia where they can do mining and the next community would be 100km away.”

Gold separated from the rock, mined in the Philippines. (Photo: Aya Lowe)

According to Garbganera, the introduction of mining operations in a locality increases the already existing risks of vulnerabilities of that community.

“The Philippines’ climate change and disaster risk reduction laws were passed in 2009, while the laws governing the mining industry were passed in 1995, so all the mining contracts we have right now do not factor in climate change and disaster risk,” he said.

EMOTIONS RATHER THAN FACTS

Lopez has stoked the anger of mining companies and scientists who believe she is addressing the issue with emotions rather than facts and due process.

They include Isidro Alcantara, CEO of publicly listed Marcventure Holdings, whose mine is currently being threatened with closure despite holding an ISO certification which confirms that the mine’s environment management systems are compliant with international standards.

“Perfection cannot be made the enemy of good,” he said. “When you disturb the earth, it will never be perfect; you will restore it 70 to 80 per cent but a lot of good would have come out of disturbing the earth; a lot of jobs, a lot of livelihoods including livelihoods that would be sustainable and that can be a catalyst for development, economic and social.”

Dr Carlo Arcila of the National Institute of Geological Sciences said differentiation needs to be made between the different types of mining in the country and that responsible mining can and does exist where minimal damage is done to the environment.

THE BENEFITS

It is not just the mining companies who are up in arms over her decision. Communities located near mining sites are worried about job and income losses if the mines are shut, and they have also been protesting in front of the DENR office.

Junarlo Hunahunan owns an iPhone, motorbike and flat screen TV. This may seem normal for a 22-year-old, but he is from a small indigenous community in the remote mountains of Surigao del Sur, which until recently was only accessible via a six-hour hike from the nearest town of Pantukan.

Junarlo Hunahunan’s renovated house in the indigenous community of Pantukan. (Photo: Aya Lowe)

In 2007, two mining companies set up nearby. He, along with his three siblings, have been working with one of the companies for two years.

They used to live in a basic nipa or straw hut, surviving off the meagre incomes of their crops, but from the money they earned they have been able to build a two-storey house, send their siblings to school and buy all the things they enjoy.

“Before, it was really hard. We didn’t have money. We couldn’t send our siblings to school or have pocket money for them,” says Junarlo.

It is not only his household that has seen a big change. The community of around 1,000 has gone from having no roads, electricity or health centres to having a gym, school and ambulance.

Mining companies are expected to give 1 per cent of their total income to the indigenous communities whose land they are operating on. Last year, Pantukan and six other communities received almost US$60,000 from just one company alone.

According to the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines, Lopez’s order puts at risk around 67,000 jobs and at least 1.2 million people who depend on mining for their livelihood.

Lopez has said mining has failed to improve the lives of the people, and that people from Surigao del Sur remain poor despite mining. But Alfred Araneta, vice mayor of Carrascal, a town in Surigao del Sur, disagrees.

He said taxes and royalties from mining companies have boosted the town’s income more than 55 times over a 10-year period.

Mining companies have to pay business and royalty taxes as well as a percentage of every tonne of ore taken out of the country to the local government. With that money, they have improved government buildings such as hospitals and schools and infrastructure.

“We are really dependent on the taxes we collect from the mining industry,” Araneta said. “If they do close down, Carrascal will go back again to what we were in 2006. That is what we are afraid of.”

A hospital in Carrascal that has been built from funds giving by mining companies. (Photo: Aya Lowe)

In 2006, Carrascal was a poor provincial town made up mostly of farmers and fishermen. Now, most of the people in town work either directly or indirectly for the mining companies and the number of registered businesses has shot up from 74 to nearly 400.

Lopez insists that she can replace these jobs by creating centres of eco-tourism in place of mining sites. She asked for the communities to give her two years to get the people out of poverty from various ecotourism activities.

“I just feel that in a country that is beautiful, the better approach is to keep the country beautiful for the benefit of anyone living there. My complaint with the mining law and mining operations is that you ravage what is there and you take out the wealth and leave them poor and give them tidbit scholarships, and they’re totally dependent on you instead of developing the potential of the area to generate quality of life,” said Lopez.

But communities remain sceptical of this proposition, worried about the viability of bringing in enough tourists into these remote areas where infrastructure remains a big problem.

“If an eco-tourism project was to be implemented, it will take how many months, even a year, before it can start operations. How can we sustain those families that are eating right now and having their children studying?” said Araneta.

Dindo Manhit, managing director of Stratbase, argued that eco-tourism can’t exist in many mining areas. He cited mining in Palawan, a tourist hotspot located in the west of the Philippines as an example.

“There is mining in Palawan; there is also eco-tourism in Palawan. Why don’t we send tourists to those mining areas? Because it’s too rural and there’re lots of mosquitoes, lots of malaria,” he said.

SMALL-SCALE MINING

Many also question why Lopez in her crusade has ignored the small-scale miners. They make up 60 per cent of the total gold production, yet for the most part continue to flourish with little regulation from the main government.

There are around 400,000 small-scale miners operating in 40 mineral-rich provinces nationwide, building tunnels deep into mountainsides in search of their “jackpot” day.

It has provided wealth for the miners -signs of prosperity dot the gold-rush town of Diawata, where children who finish top of their class even get rewarded with a 15g pure gold medal worth around 19,500 pesos.

But the gold rush does not necessarily translate into prosperity for the government or environment.

Miners inside a small-scale mine in Diwalwal dig for gold. (Photo: Aya Lowe)

According to Dr Carlo Arcilla of the National Institute of Geological Science, most of the small-scale mining is illegal and unregulated and certain practices are detrimental to the environment. According to him, practices such as using mercury when mining for gold is not only bad for the environment but for the miners as well.

“When you mine the gold content, it’s in the parts per million, so you have to grind very fine to get the gold out,” he said. “Many miners use mercury because mercury dissolves the gold. The problem is that the river will flow to the ocean and the mercury, once it gets into the ocean, is poisonous by itself and it becomes integrated in the food chain and becomes metal mercury – one of the most poisonous substances known to humankind.”

In an attempt to stop this, in 2015, the department of environment issued new policies and guidelines for these mines to adhere to. Cooperatives were formed to allow for more regulation of mines.

Jose Anayo, the head of a mining cooperative in Compostela Valley, said small-scale mining permits were issued by the provincial government. He added that there are regular check-ups on the mines for labour and environmental safety practices, but there are still a lot of mines that remain unregulated.

“Our cooperative consists of around 70 tunnels but that’s only from the registered tunnels, which make up only a small percentage of the total network of small-scale mines,” he said.

MINING CONTRIBUTION INSUFFICIENT: LOPEZ

Lopez has also argued that mining contribution to the Philippines is not enough to cover for the economic loss to the environment. Last year, mining’s contribution in terms of GDP was a mere 0.9 per cent. Mining export receipts were pegged at US$2.8 billion, or only 4.8 per cent of total exports, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

According to Credit Suisse, the mining ban could shave 0.2 per cent off the Philippines’ economic growth and hurt foreign investors’ sentiments. It could also reduce exports by around 2 per cent.

Speaking to Channel NewsAsia, Lopez acknowledged that she was stepping on “very big business interests and political interests”.

“But at the end of the day, I’m doing what the government has mandated for me to do – which is to take care of the people and make sure the land and resources of the area can benefit the people living here.”



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The rules have changed. The American Dream is no longer the corner office.It’s a successful business you can run from your home office, the beach, or wherever you desire. It’s work you love that still allows you the freedom and income to live the life you truly want. Sound like a tall order? Well, thanks to the Internet, anyone can launch a business with little or no start-up capital or technical expertise. And in Click Millionaires, e-commerce expert Scott Fox teaches weary corporate warriors and aspiring entrepreneurs how to trade the 9-5 job they hate for an online business they love. The book explains how to combine outsourcing, software, and automated online marketing to build recurring revenues, all while working less and making fewer of the lifestyle compromises that corporate success requires. Readers will learn how to: Find a lucrative niche on the Internet that matches their interests and skills Choose an online businessmodel: fromblogs, noozles, and audience communities to digital delivery, online services, affiliate marketing-even physical products Position themselves as a experts Build their audience Design the lifestyle they want Balance passion and profits to realize their personal definition of success Featuring stories of dozens of regular folks who have reinvented themselves as Click Millionaires, this inspiring and practical guide shows readers how to stop dreaming of a better life and start living it!

DELTA AEGIS Fashion TOUR | SINGAPORE 2017 Promotional Teaser Video



You won’t believe this . . .DELTA AEGIS Fashion WEEK, is an international fashion platform, conducted in Mumbai & Singapore every year in November, where designers from India & around the world are invited to present their apparels in front of owners of fashion retail outlet chains, fashion journalists and masters of global fashion industry. Later, designer apparels are considered in one of our fashion brands and is launched at DA FASHION AWARDS, where designer name is also highlighted and embossed on the apparel which is then marketed worldwide for orders. DELTA AEGIS understands the hard work done by young & professional Indian designers and so works hard to bring their ROI (return-of-investment) with our marketing & sales team & thus brings a bright and promising career with DELTA AEGIS. If you are a designer, doesn’t matter what age you are, sign up with DELTA AEGIS today.

Registration Amount : 10,000 INR (one-time)

What benefits you’ll get:

During the show :

– International platform
– Opportunity to travel the world
– Access to Hospitality services in Singapore
– Free City Tour
– DELTA AEGIS Fashion Party

After the show:

– Online Store
– Regular orders every month
– Branding/Rebranding
– Article & Content in DA SCREENS Magazine
– Free photoshoots
– Catalogue making
– Freelance job opportunity with DELTA AEGIS.
– Online & Offline Marketing & Sales
– Payments through trusted Payment Gateway (ccavenue)
– Free world-wide order management
– Free world-wide shipping services
– Customer Relationship

If you found this opportunity as a boost to your fashion career, drop an email with a “Yes” on email-id i.e. contact@deltaaegis.com and our representatives will contact you back immediately as per office hours.

Channel Name : DELTA AEGIS
WEBSITE TO SIGN UP : www.deltaaegis.com
Social links to DELTA AEGIS:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/deltaaegis, https://www.facebook.com/deltaaegisfashionweeek
Instagram : @deltaaegis
Twitter : @AegisDelta
Hashtags : #deltaaegis #deltaaegisfashionweek #dafashiontour

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