Local team formed to monitor waste-dumping in Nasugbu waters
BATANGAS CITY, Philippines – The Environment Management Bureau (EMB) in Calabarzon has formed a monitoring team composed of local authorities and fisherfolk to monitor activities in Nasugbu waters along the coastal village of Natipuan, following residents' concerns over the dumping of waste into the sea.
Eman Osorio of EMB-Calabarzon said in an interview that the local team was formed after Barangay Natipuan residents called attention to the problem, so that any activity can be immediately reported and acted upon.
One particular resident, overseas Filipino worker Ver Bayaborda, who works in Qatar, caught the attention of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Calabarzon after he posted photos which showed brown water lapping at the shores of Barangay Natipuan in October 2017.
DENR-Calabarzon invited Bayaborda to a technical conference in February. The hearing sought to address residents’ concerns about the operation of Progreen Agricorp, Incorporated relative to the discharging of waste in Lian River.
Progreen Agricorp is a wholly owned subsidiary of Emperador Distillers, Incorporated.
DENR-Calabarzon told Bayaborda in a letter that its personnel conducted an "investigation/inspection" to verify and validate his complaint but at the time of the inspection, there was no oil spill or similar discoloration seen in Nasugbu bay.
“However, based on the person interviewed near the coastal area, seawater appeared brownish last October 13, 2017. Residents near the discharge outfall confirmed that the Progreen Agricorp, Inc was discharging their wastewater into the Palico River on the same day,” the letter read.
Osorio urged coastal residents of Nasugbu to immediately report dumping activities into the sea so that the DENR can act on them.
“DENR cannot issue a notice of violation based on allegation. Kailangan makita ang actual dumping kaya ginawa nating localized ang (The actual dumping has to be witnessed so we localized the) monitoring so that if they see something, they can immediately make a resolution and elevate it to our office,” Osorio said in the interview.
He added that Progreen Agricorp has a discharge permit that allows it to discharge waste for agricultural purposes only. This is also supported by a certification from the Department of Agriculture that the company's waste water is safe.
Osorio said that the EMB will rely on the laboratory analysis of the water, adding that the color of the water, by itself, cannot be the sole basis of determining whether it is harmful.
“We will depend on laboratory analysis. Kahit brownish ang kulay ng tubig pero pumasa sa lab test, walang penalty. Kung may makikita ang mga residente na (Even if the water is brownish but passes the lab test, there will be no penalty. If the residents witness any) waste dumping, they should report it immediately for sampling,” Osorio added.
The municipality of Nasugbu in Batangas is home to numerous resorts frequented by tourists during summer. – Rappler.com