DENR summons firm execs over leachate spill on Manila Bay
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has summoned the company that operates a garbage transfer station in Tondo, Manila, over a leachate spill on Manila Bay and other violations.
The DENR is expecting an explanation today from Philippine Ecology System Corp. (PhilEco) regarding the state of Vitas Marine Loading Station (VMLS) at Pier 18.
VMLS serves as the holding area for barges containing garbage collected in the city for final hauling to a sanitary landfill in Navotas City.
In a “notice of adverse findings” dated Sept. 25, the DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) said the facility was found in violation of the conditions set in the environmental compliance certificate (ECC) issued to its operator.
EMB National Capital Region Director Vizminda Osorio said “leachate from the voluminous solid waste dumped at the transfer station was directly discharging into Manila Bay.”
The EMB inspection conducted in August also found that tons of garbage that were supposed to stay at Vitas for less than 24 hours were taking longer to be moved to the landfill.
The facility also failed to meet effluent standards for phosphate and total suspended solids, thus discharging untreated wastewater directly into the bay, the board said.
PhilEco officials were asked to present a position paper today in their defense.
Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, who also conducted a surprise inspection on the station last week, called for an “urgent, thorough and full investigation … to determine the liability of PhilEco.”
Cimatu said he saw for himself the garbage piling up along a stretch of coastline and the road leading to the station.
“What I saw does not speak well of how the facility operates and it only behooves the operator to address that problem,” Cimatu said. “We need to have a mechanism that determines the full compensation cost for the damage arising from environmental crimes, including violations of ECC conditions.”