Contaminated Lake Lanao in danger

If left unchecked, the contamination will affect the lives of thousands of Maranaos who are dependent on the country’s second biggest lake for food and livelihood, according to authorities.

“We were very sympathetic to the town folks who first reported the greening of the lake waters,” said Prof. Danilo Mero of the MSU College of Forestry and Environmental Sciences.

Mero said MSU President Ricardo de Leon formed a scientific task force composed of the university’s top researchers last October 4 “to investigate the unusual greening of Lake Lanao.”

He said they initially suspected that poor sewage and agricultural wastes caused the contamination of Lake Lanao.

The Department of Agriculture, in its environmental assessment report in 2005, said soil erosion from indiscriminate logging and extensive land use is the number one problem of Lake Lanao.

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources listed logging and extensive agricultural farming as main cause for harmful algae contamination among fresh water lakes.

Algae, which are actually microscopic photosynthetic organisms, is also reportedly harmful to the flora and fauna of Lake Lanao.

The Los Banos-based ASEAN Regional Center for Biodiversity Conservation said Lake Lanao is home to 18 endemic fishes and large number of waterfowls.

Mero said the task force will make public its findings on October 26.

The task force is funded from the university’s own budget. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)