Authorities clamp down on firm over Manila Bay pollution

Chief environment official “not happy” after personal inspection

Authorities clamp down on firm over Manila Bay pollution

Insurance News

By Paolo Taruc

The Philippine government’s environment watchdog has suspended operations of a garbage transfer facility after investigators found that waste was leaking into the waters of Manila Bay.

Officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) also levied a Php150,000 (US$2,931) fine against Philippine Ecology System Corp (Phileco). The firm operates Vitas Marine Loading Station, where wastes are kept before they are transferred to a 40-hectare sanitary landfill north of Manila.

“The Phileco incident is just one of the many battles the DENR must squarely address in winning the campaign for Manila Bay under the mantle of the continuing mandamus order of the Supreme Court,” said DENR chief Roy Cimatu.

“It is high time that we strictly enforce the law on solid-waste management no matter who gets hurt, otherwise, we will continue to live in an unhealthy environment to the detriment of public health,” he added. The suspension will remain until the company addresses the problem.

Cimatu personally inspected the facility late last month and was apparently not happy with what he saw, a statement from the government office said. Aside from garbage piles on the shore, he also noticed trash along the road leading to the facility.

“What I saw outside does not speak well of how the facility operates and it only behooves the operator to likewise address that problem,” Cimatu said.

Phileco officials were given the chance to explain their side during a technical conference called by the DENR earlier this month. They said the firm had installed liners, drainage pipes, and runoff storage tanks at the transfer facility and had already started the water cleanup using two trash-collecting boats.

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