Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Aklan SP Urges DENR to Classify Sooc River Waters

Aklan SP Urges DENR to 
Classify Sooc River Waters
by Odon S. Bandiola

The Aklan River and Sooc River run and drain parallel to the
Sibuyan Sea with Sooc and the east and the Aklan at the west.
In another development and alarmed by the rising levels of coliform contamination of water samples taken from the Sooc River very recently, particularly in the vicinity of Kalibo’s dumping site in Barangay Bachao Sur and Buswang Old, the 16th Sangguniang Panlalawigan has urgently asked the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to immediately classify according to usage the Sooc River waters.

The urgent request was embodied in Resolution No. 277, Series of 2014 enacte
d by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan during its 43rd Regular Session on December 10, 2014.

The reason why the SP has requested for the immediate classification of Sooc waters was that both the DENR and the Aklan Environment and Natural Resources Office cannot possibly establish the parameters as to what level of coliform contamination can be tolerable to prevent hazards to human life and marine resources as well as the environment.

The SP learned that the level of coliform count on tests on Sooc River water samples conducted by the AKENRO revealed tens of thousands MPN/100ml. It was also learned that DENR had earlier conducted tests on these water samples in the same vicinity of the Sooc River and tallied millions MPN/100ml of coliform contamination from the Sooc River water samples.

Both AKENRO and DENR failed to establish whether the high level of coliform contamination can be attributed to the seepage of liquid wastes emanating from Kalibo’s dumping site. This alarmed Aklan SP.

The DENR has already issued an order for the Local Government Unit of Kalibo to immediately institute safe closure proceedings on the capital town’s dumping site.  Residents and businesses, institutions like schools and other stakeholders living or doing businesses in the vicinity of Kalibo’s dumping site had long been complaining of the foul odor and hazards to health caused by the garbage being disposed in that area. 

The SP Committee on Environmental Protection chaired by SP Member Esel L. Flores after a committee hearing over the issue and recommends the following: 

1. For DENR to cause immediate classification of the Sooc River Waters upon request by LGU-Kalibo so that tolerable levels of contamination particularly coliform can be established including possible hazards to human and marine life and the environment;
2. For DENR to closely monitor compliance of LGU-Kalibo in the implementation of the safe closure procedures of the Kalibo Dumping Site in accordance with the timetable imposed by the DENR, and to possibly charge violations thereof;
3. For DENR and Provincial Government of Aklan to fast track the identification and development of an alternative sanitary landfill site outside of Kalibo; and
4. For DENR and AKENRO to conduct regular testing of the water samples of the Sooc River and if possible establish tolerable levels of contamination. /MP

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