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3 fast food restaurants found polluting Mindoro river

CALAPAN CITY — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) issued a cease and desist order against three fast food restaurants here—the first in a series of government action against establishments polluting the Calapan River.

The 19-kilometer Calapan River in Oriental Mindoro province is one of the government’s “top priorities” for rehabilitation that will kick off formally on March 22, said Drake Matias, director of the DENR Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) in Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan (Mimaropa).

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Since 2013, environmental officials have been monitoring the river’s water quality that is currently fit just for recreational use.

“It’s 2019 already and yet [the water quality] is still going down,” Matias said in a phone interview on Friday.

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The EMB initially set the river’s water quality guideline at 7 milligrams per liter to gauge the water’s biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), or the amount of oxygen in water needed to break down organic matter.

“The higher the BOD, the more polluted (the water) is,” Matias said.

Recent tests however showed the BOD at 9 or 13 mg/L.

High effluent discharge

The DENR said the effluent coming from nearby establishments contributed to the river’s deterioration.

On March 7, the DENR ordered two branches of Jollibee and one branch of Chowking food chains to stop disposing wastewater into the river.

Officials “taped and sealed off” the restaurants’ kitchen sinks, toilets and faucets.

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By EMB standards, effluent discharge should stay below 50 mg/L, but they found as much as 1,800 mg/L coming from the restaurants.

Aside from disposing too much waste water and leftover food, the restaurants also did not have discharge permits and had been warned through several notices since 2015, the DENR said.

Matias said that while the restaurants had a water treatment system, “it was inadequate.”

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TAGS: 3 fastfood restaurants, Calapan River, DENR, effluent, Mimaropa, Mindoro, Pollution, River
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