Lacson: Closure of ethanol plant not solution

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014


NEGROS Occidental Vice Goernor Eugenio Jose Lacson said on Monday the call for the shutdown of the operations of San Carlos Bioenergy Inc. (SCBI) is not the solution to the complaints against the pollution it is causing.

Lacson said immediate action, not closure is needed to address the problem.

The SCBI management is "taking steps to rectify the situation hence the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) should continue to monitor the condition in the affected area," said Lacson, a former mayor of San Carlos City.

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"Only when it can be determined that the problem cannot be resolved, do we call for its closure," the vice governor added.

An online petition against the ethanol plant has been opened on the website change.org. Led by Augustinian Recollect Bro. Jaazeal Jakosalem, it has gathered about 300 signatures.

“We cannot allow the destruction of our environment (become a) pretext (for) renewable energy generation,” Jakosalem said, adding that the plant is “destroying the lives of the people and the ecosystem in San Carlos.”

SCBI plant manager Jojo Salvador had earlier said they are finding ways to address the problem on the foul odor coming from the ethanol plant.

Salvador said the pungent smell comes from the plant’s waste water lagoon which has untreated water with high acidity.

Heavy rains in recent weeks caused the lagoon to overflow and the waste water seeped into the canal system of the city and went directly to the sea.

Salvador said San Carlos City Mayor Gerardo Valmayor Jr. called their attention after residents complained about the foul odor.

“As a temporary solution, we blocked the canal and rerouted it and pumped it to the unused fish pond of Congressman Julio Ledesma IV which is 40 hectares beside the plant itself,” he added.

Salvador said they voluntarily stopped operations the other week to solve the problem on the overflow of the waste water lagoon.

He said that the without rains, the decomposition process will be faster, adding that they have five ponds of fully decomposed material and they intend to fill 20 more ponds to solve the overflow.

"As a long term solution, we plan to put up additional anaerobic digester to treat our waste water," Salvador said. (With reports from PNA)

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on April 29, 2014.

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