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2 food firms’ pipes padlocked for discharging polluted water

/ 11:26 PM January 27, 2012

Two known companies in the food  business have been discharging polluted water into Laguna Lake,  prompting authorities to padlock the establishments’ water pipes.

“This is just the beginning of a crackdown on lake pollutants,” said Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) General Manager Nereus Acosta, after he served  cease-and-desist orders on  McDonalds in Pasig City and King Sue Ham and Sausage Company in Caloocan City  after they were found violating the Clean Water Act.

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Acosta, who is also the Presidential Adviser on Environmental Protection, said the water analysis conducted by an LLDA team showed the two firms’ Biological Oxygen Demands (BOD), the measure of organic pollutant in the water, were between 1,000 to 2,000 milligrams per liter,  way beyond the ceiling prescribed by the law which is 50.

“When the BOD is high, so much oxygen is taken from the water so the fish and other organisms living in it die. This is normally the cause of a massive fish kill,” said  Carlo Relegioso, officer in charge of LLDA’s enforcement division.

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Acosta said the two companies were given a week to either fix their water treatment facility or set up a new one.

“The water they were releasing is like  irrigation water which is not suited for the fish and even for other uses,” he said, noting that Laguna Lake has been the source of water for cities in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

“We cannot allow untreated  water  from these industries to keep going into the lake and cause its degradation.” he said.

Acosta warned that if these companies were found violating the LLDA order, they would be held criminally liable.

The order, he said, was just the first in their crackdown on lake pollutants as complaints against a number of businesses  have piled up on his desk.

Acosta was appointed LLDA general manager on Sept. 29 last year. One of the first things he did was to conduct a  review of the agency’s departments, especially its Enforcement and Regulatory Division

Meanwhile, officials of McDonalds Philippines sent an official statement to the Inquirer in reaction to  the LLDA order.

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The statement reads: “McDonald’s Philippines remains committed in ensuring that all its restaurants are operating in compliance with all government regulations.

“We are in the process of  updating and installing waste water system in accordance to the stipulations under the Clean Water Act. During this process, we would like to assure all our customers that the water used in the preparation and sanitation of all our food products are safe and clean.

“We fully support the DENR and the LLDA in their protection and preservation efforts.”

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TAGS: Environmental Issues, Food, Laguna Lake
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