Subject:
PRESS RELEASE: Kalikasan demands DENR to close the hazardous coal stockpile of RockEnergy

Date:
Fri, 19 Feb 2016 11:46:12 +0800

From:
Kalikasan PNE <secretariat@kalikasan.net>

KALIKASAN PEOPLE’S NETWORK FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
26 Matulungin St. Central Dist., Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines, 1100
Tel./Fax; +63 (2) 924-8756 E-mail: secretariat@kalikasan.net Website: www.kalikasan.net

PRESS RELEASE

19 February 2016

Kalikasan demands DENR to close the hazardous coal stockpile of RockEnergy

Tondo residents and environmental activist group Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE) protested in front of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) demanding the closure of RockEnergy coal stockpiling operation in Port Area, Tondo Manila City.

“DENR Secretary Ramon Paje and Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) head Undersecretary Jonas Leones are allowing the hazardous and pollutive operation of RockEnergy. The DENR is turning a blind eye on the deteriorating health condition of Tondo residents because of the noxious fumes and harmful dust emitted by coal stockpile in the area,” said Clemente Bautista of Kalikasan PNE.

RockEnergy International a company that ventures in bulk logistics services, coal exploration, and mineral supply distribution. In 2013 it started to stockpile coal in an open 2-hectare area adjacent to a residential community of Happyland in Bgy. 105 Tondo. The area has a capacity to stocking capacity of 10,000 metric tons or equivalent of 200,000 sacks of rice (50kg/bag).

“More so, there are enough scientific evidences have already been established pointing out the adverse impacts of coal on health and environment. The City of Manila have issued a closure order to RockEnergy but it continue its operation after the DENR granted it a permit to operate. The DENR and EMB which is tasked ensure the operation of companies to pass air quality standards and do not negatively affect the environment failed to see any violations from RockEnergy. This in spite of the unsafe operation and violations of RockEnergy,” Bautista explained.

Since the start of its operation, incessant complaints from the community have been aired. An abnormal increase in respiratory diseases among children and elderly has also been recorded according to the community health workers.

World Health Organization (WHO) report and several scientific studies show the coal dust contains heavy metals and toxic elements that cause range of diseases and health problems like asthma and lung cancer. Coal contains toxic heavy metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, as well as radioactive isotopes like thorium and strontium.

“Dumadami ang nagkakasakit sa baga sa mga bata at matatanda sa komunidad. Bigyan mo man ng gamot, hindi maalis alis ang sakit dahil ang polusyon ay nananatili sa tabi mismo ng aming komunidad. Tumindig kalang sa tabi ng stockpile, ramdam mo na agad ang sangsang ng amoy at paninikip ng iyong dibdib dulot ng nakakalasong usok mula sa karbon. Inuuna pa ng DENR ang interes ng RockEnergy kaysa intindihin ang kaligtasan at kalusugan namin dito sa komunidad. Higit pa sa hayop kung ituring nila kami,” laments Ricky Lozada, Chairperso, Alyansa ng mga Residente ng Happyland Laban sa Coal

Kalikasan noted the harmful pollutants that are present in coal stockpile such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter and others. Additionally, the residents have raised the issue that the company is directly dumping its wastes in Manila bay.

“DENR should do its mandate to protect the environment and should not allow pollutive companies that operate in very populated areas such as Manila city. Aside from immediate suspension DENR should revoke the company’s permit and order its closure. They should not be hesitant in closing down companies that cause damage on the environment and endangering the lives of the people” Bautista demanded.###

Reference: Clemente Bautista 0905 432 5211

Clemente Bautista, National Coordinator

Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment
26 Matulungin St. Central District, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines, 1100
Tel: +63 (2) 433 0184 | E-mail: secretariat@kalikasan.net | Site: www.kalikasan.net