Buyat Villagers Contaminated by Arsenic Matter
Thursday, 16 February, 2012 | 15:07 WIB
TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta:Villagers in Buyat, North Sulawesi, whose area was once polluted by PT Newmont Minahasa Raya, have shown indications of being contaminated by arsenic.
“Lab results on the arsenic levels showed that eight percent or five out of 65 respondents are suffering from chronic arsenic poisoning,” said research director at the Medical Emergency Rescue Committee (Mer-C), Dr Zackya Yahya.
Zackya said that arsenic poison was not found in the blood because the process happened a long time ago. However, physical checks showed that arsenic was still deposited in their hair and nails.
Mer-C director, Joserizal Jurnalis, confirmed the validity of the test as it was conducted twice and showed consistent results.
National Commission on Human Rights deputy head, Ridha Saleh, is urging the environment and health ministries to immediately follow-up on the finding. “The commission is calling on these ministries to conduct objective research on the wells, which are allegedly contaminated by arsenic,” said Ridha.
Ridha also questioned the Health Ministry’s research which reached a different result. According to the ministry, there are no longer any health issues in the village due to the water pollution caused by PT Newmont Minahasa Raya’s (PT NMR) mining activities in 2004.
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