Cimatu orders probe of firm for polluting Manila Bay

Rhodina Villanueva - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu has ordered an investigation of a garbage hauler for allegedly dumping solid waste into Manila Bay.

“It would be in the public interest to hold a full investigation to determine the liability” of Philippine Ecology System Corp., Cimatu said after he inspected PHILECO’s Vitas Marine Loading Station at Pier 18 in Tondo, Manila on Wednesday.

Cimatu also recently met with PHILECO officials led by chairman Reghis Romero.

This came after National Capital Region (NCR) office of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), a line bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, said in a notice of adverse findings dated Sept. 25 that the firm violated the conditions of its environmental compliance certificate.

The EMB-NCR reported that leachate from solid wastes dumped at the transfer station were directly discharging into Manila Bay. It also noted the presence of garbage along the bay’s shoreline.

PHILECO discharged untreated wastewater directly into the bay and stored garbage in the station for more than 24 hours, the EMB-NCR said.              

The VMLS functions as a transfer facility for garbage the firm collects in Metro Manila. The garbage is transported by barge to the 40-hectare Navotas sanitary landfill, which is also operated by PHILECO.

Cimatu took note of the garbage piled along the shore and along the four-kilometer barangay road leading to the transfer station.

EMB-NCR summoned PHILECO officials to a technical conference on Oct. 3 to discuss the issue.

PHILECO, in a statement, welcomed the investigation but said garbage was being dumped at Pier 18 as early as 1999, way before the firm used it as a transfer facility.

The firm said that during the inspection, it set dates to complete prescribed measures to improve daily operations at the facility.

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