Eight industrial companies have been identified as among the “major polluters” of the Marilao-Meycauayan-Obando river system, which has been named as one of the world’s 10 dirtiest rivers.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Manila Bay Law Enforcement Team (MBLET), together with the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) and the international non-government environmental group Blacksmith Institute, conducted a random water sampling and found the eight companies to have failed wastewater standards in gross violation of the Clean Water Act (Republic Act 9275).
The MBLET identified the eight firms as the Snack and Enjoy Corp., Sodeska Food Corp., Pinnacle Foods, Suncrest Food Corp., Evergreen Textile, Artos Textile, Pantone Finishing Corp., and Global Trends Laundry Services Inc.
The MBLET also said one company, A.O. Knitting Mills, was even found operating despite a closure order issued against it by the DENR in 2005.
The random sampling of wastewater discharge along the banks of the river, according to the MBLET, revealed excessive levels of biological oxygen demand (BOD) that resulted in the current degraded state of the river system.
The results have been referred to the DENR’s Pollution Adjudication Board (PAB) for the imposition of appropriate fines and possibly the issuance of cease-and-desist orders against the erring companies, the MBLET said.
Lawyer Jonas Leones, EMB assistant director and PAB legal counsel, said abnormally high levels of BOD in discharged industrial wastewater result in the loss of the oxygen supply in the river, thus killing vital microorganisms that sustain all forms of aquatic life.
“With high BOD levels, life will not flourish. This suffocates living specimens in the water and basically kills the river,” Leones said.
“These companies are consciously violating environmental laws because it is clearly stated in their environmental permits that (they) must have the appropriate wastewater treatment facilities and must make sure that all (their) discharge into the river must meet required standards,” he added.–Katherine Adraneda, Philippine Star