Toxic waste check starts Thursday

February 11, 2011

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO — Pampanga’s 21 municipal and city chairmen on environment and natural resources agreed to conduct a series of inspections on waterways and dump sites in the province starting Thursday.
The inspections’ results will finally pinpoint the sources of solid and liquid waste contributing to alleged build-up in rivers in fourth district towns, particularly in Macabebe.

In Tuesday morning’s public hearing conducted by Board Member Nestor Tolentino, chair of the Provincial Board’s committee on environment, together with vice chairman Board Member Ricardo Yabut, all the heads of local environment committees, along with officials from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), agreed to personally see for themselves the alleged toxic waste coming from upstream of the first and third district areas.

An ocular inspection documented on video and via photographs by the team of Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer (Penro) Art Punzalan positively pointed to the possible sources of the solid and liquid wastes.
The environmentalists, to be led by Yabut, will inspect rivers and waterways, as well as dumpsites, starting from Angeles City, City of San Fernando, down to fourth district waterways, plus channels in the second district.
Tolentino earlier called for a stop to the “finger pointing” and “blame game” on the toxic waste issue.
At the conclusion of the hearing, he said: “Now we can find the long-term solutions on the problem as suggested by stakeholders. This is a big step towards solving our problem on solid and toxic liquid wastes.”
Punzalan corroborated Tolentino’s statements, saying the Penro’s documentation was “not to blame anyone but to find the appropriate solutions.”
DENR Regional Director Ricardo Calderon further pushed for water quality sampling and analysis of affected vegetation like palay, including aquatic life, to determine the type of pollutants in Pampanga’s rivers.
He said the agency could then define “toxic” wastes, classify them according to terms of Republic Act 6969, and move for immediate action like treatment, penalties and sanctions for erring firms or sources without necessary permits, in as close as two weeks.
Tolentino said the inspection would also determine how much of the waste is generated by industrial plants and how much comes from domestic waste, which he branded as a major culprit in the pollution of waterways.
“Waste management and environmental protection is everyone’s concern. It’s a good sign that our environmentalists have come together for this. After the inspection, we would consolidate our reports then move ahead with our plans,” Tolentino said. (Jovi T. De Leon)


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