The use of nematodes as indicators of pollution in selected mining sites in the Philippines

Progress not set: October 2011 -

The Philippines is a country well-endowed with mineral resources. Mineral extraction is done by large-scale and artisanal or small-scale mining. However, in most developing countries, impact of such activities are often neglected due to economic reasons. Aside from several active mine sites, there are about 33 abandoned mine sites which need immediate rehabilitation. Currently, rehabilitation success is measured based on seedling survival. However, the fact that several plant species can tolerate high pollution levels renders this criterion insufficient. Hence, this study was conducted to investigate soil inhabitants such as nematodes and microbes as indicators of soil recovery. 
Aside from abandoned mine sites, small-scale mines along the mountain slopes also pose risk to humans and the environment. Small-scale or artisanal mining activities have existed since the 1980’s and the indiscriminate use of Hg in gold extraction has already affected the environment. Elevated Hg levels in marine food sources have already been reported, but impacts on terrestrial ecosystem remains unknown. Hence, we conducted a study to determine the impact of small-scale mining activities on terrestrial nematodes.