A comprehensive investigative assessment approach was employed to evaluate Iloilo City and Tagbilaran City from 2017 to 2019. Soil quality was evaluated in a total of 80 barangays in Iloilo City and 15 barangays in Tagbilaran City.
Surficial soil samples were collected at variable spacings dependent on site usage as follows: every 30 to 50 steps (~30 to 50 m) in public places like play areas, waiting sheds, commercial and residential yards; every 75 steps (~75 m) in agricultural areas; and every 3 to 5 steps (~3 to 5 m) in areas with suspected heavy metals sources (e.g., junk shops, metal and machine shops, electronic repair shops). Additional soil samples were also collected in more sensitive areas such as children’s play areas.
In total, 4,879 soil samples were collected in the 15 barangays of Tagbilaran City. Based on the results of the XRF readings, 77% of the total number of samples were found to have detectable heavy metal levels and 18% were found to have heavy metal levels exceeding environmental standards.
In general, the majority of the heavy metal exceedances were found near battery display centers, junk shops, machine/metal works, a vulcanizing shop and few near backyard garbage burning areas.
The data collected from Tagbilaran City had been used to develop a guidance document for Tagbilaran City, which includes recommendations for policy and program actions the local government can take. The guidance document was to be presented and discussed with local stakeholders in April/May 2020 but is now delayed due to the COVID-19 situation.
A guidance document is being developed for Iloilo City and will be completed and shared by the end of 2020.