San Carlos temporarily shutdown bioethanol plant

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The city government of San Carlos thru City Mayor Renato Y. Gustilo has ordered San Carlos Bioenergy, Inc. (SCBI) to temporarily cease its operation due to environmental violation.

Gustilo issued the order last February 18, prompting the company to temporarily cease its operation in the afternoon of February 19.

The temporary closure stemmed from several environmental violations that SCBI has committed, including series of incidents of water discoloration along the coastal waters of So. Maloloy-on, Brgy. Punao due to its wastewater discharges.

Footages and reports from the City Planning and Development Coordinator’s Office, Bantay Katunggan of the Coastal Resource Management of the City Environment Management Office (CRM-CEMO), Eco-Zone Multi-Partite Monitoring Team (MMT), and City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office were also included as evidences to said violations.

Gustilo said that while specific mitigating measures were undertaken by the operator of the bioethanol plant, such initiatives are not enough to cushion the negative impact of the water pollution to the constituents of San Carlos City.

Gustilo strongly advised the SCBI to temporarily cease its operation until they settled said recurring issues the soonest or the city government will recommend to the Environment Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (EMB-DENR) the issuance for its cease-and-desist order.

Meawnhile, Engr. Arthur Batomalaque, Senior Environment Management Specialist of CEMO said that they have already referred the recurring incidents of water discoloration, foul smell and other environment issues committed by the SCBI to the Pollution Adjudication Board (PAB) of the DENR for possible case which said company was already penalized.

He said only the coastal waters are greatly affected by the effluent from said plant since based on the continuous monitoring of the MMT eco-zone locators including testing at accredited labs, the local ground water wells remain unsullied.

But Melvin Maglayon of CRM-CEMO and Conservation Fellow of the Fishforever program of the city said any industrial waste that reaches the sea is very harmful because pollutants can lower dissolved oxygen level causing fish kill.

He added that harmful chemicals also affect the fragile coastal ecosystems like mangroves, seagrass beds and coral reefs and most importantly, “It decreases fish catch among fishermen near the area and affects tourism as well if pollutants reach tourist spot like Sipaway Island,” he stressed.

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