Stench from chemical plant engulfs Batangas villages
A chemical plant in Batangas City is spewing noxious smoke, allegedly causing dizziness and vomiting among residents of surrounding villages.
The facility is also located adjacent to the waters of the Verde Island Passage, a world-famous marine ecosystem.
But residents prefer to remain quiet since the plant supposedly employs many of them.
Pia Ranada reports.
The flames coming from this chemical plant in Batangas are far from normal, according to nearby residents.
From where I’m standing I can already smell a powerful stench like plastic burning and hear a constant roar coming from the plant.
Residents have had to put up with this for several days now. They say at night they can’t sleep and during the day, the smell is nauseating.
This is reality for those living beside the JG Summit Petrochemical plant.
In Pinamukan Ibaba Village, Rosalia sells her wares within sight of the large flames.
ROSALIA FURTO, RESIDENT, PINAMUKAN IBABA VILLAGE: It stinks in a way that we don’t understand. The kids get cough, mucus. Others got loose bowels. Even if the lights in the house are turned off, it’s still bright. The light from the flame reaches the inside of the house.
The clouds of smoke come out at night.
They were biggest on the night of August 12, she says.
Those in Simlong Village say the same thing.
DANTE FAJARDO, RESIDENT, SIMLONG VILLAGE: All of us in the village, the kids, can’t breathe. (So you don’t like the plant?) Against.
The fumes are being linked to incidents of vomiting and stomach aches among children in the villages.
JERALD PIRA, RESIDENT, SIMLONG VILLAGE: Yes because of the smoke, peoples’ stomach hurt and they vomit. (Did you yourself feel anything?) My stomach hurt.
Without masks, the children have no choice but to endure the smell.
JOMEL BALARES, RESIDENT, SIMLONG VILLAGE: When we pass by the plant from school, we smell solvent and the smell of burning plastic.
This is only the most recent incident of unusual smells coming from the plant. Some residents choose to remain quiet.
A man who said he works for the plant says the facility employs more than half of the people in the village.
The plant’s legal department says it won’t issue a statement soon.
Whatever goes wrong in the plant affects more than the people living beside it since the facility sits next to the waters of the Verde Island Passage, a world-famous marine ecosystem.
But as long as the chemical plant spews the noxious stench people’s lives and this world treasure will be at risk.
Pia Ranada, Rappler, Batangas City