GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines – Authorities warned on Tuesday, August 2, against fishing and other human activities at the Davao River and its tributaries, hours after a tanker plunged into a 50-foot ravine and spilled caustic soda into the Suawan River.
The Suawan River is a tributary of the bigger Davao River.
The Davao City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office said it would be dangerous to fish, swim, or take a bath in the Davao River and its tributaries at this time because of the chemical contamination.
CDRRMO head Fred Baluran said the tanker truck figured in an accident and crashed into the Suawan River which is linked to the Davao River.
Baluran said there have been reports about fish kills along Suawan River, near the area where the tanker with a hazardous chemical crashed.
The Davao City Health Office, and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) sent teams to the area on Tuesday to collect water samples in the upland village of Suawan in Davao’s Marilog District.
Members of Davao’s Urban Search and Rescue Unit rescued one of the two men in the truck and rushed him to the hospital. Another man, soaked in caustic soda, died.
Caustic soda or sodium hydroxide is a substance commonly used for acid-base titration, cleaning, drain opener, paint remover, and catalytic activities, among others.
The chemical is a potentially dangerous substance and harmful at skin contact.
If ingested, sodium hydroxide can cause severe burns and immediate vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and extreme abdominal pain.
The harmful effects of caustic soda include damage to the mouth, throat, and stomach which are immediate.
It can also cause severe irritation of the upper respiratory tract, resulting in coughing, burns, and even breathing difficulties. – Rappler.com