Mayor closes tire recycling factory-A A +A
Saturday, November 2, 2013
THE Municipal Government of Compostela has padlocked a Taiwanese-owned tire plant in Barangay Tamiao after the neighborhood complained of air pollution.
Accompanied by town and barangay officials, Mayor Joel Quiño served the cease-and-desist order (CDO) on Union Tire Philippines Thursday afternoon.
The mayor said in his order that he has received complaints about violations of environmental laws supposedly committed by the company.
Except for about 10 workers inside the plant, no Taiwanese officials of the establishment were in sight when the town officials enforced the closure order.
The proprietor, Luzviminda Taboada, was not around during the closure either.
The tire plant has been operating since 2008 despite complaints from the residents about the thick black smoke and foul odor emitting from the plant.
The plant reportedly uses six huge rollers to recycle discarded tire into fuel oil (bunker). The product is then shipped to local and international markets.
Residents have complained that the thick smoke and dark dust from the plant have caused them asthma, skin allergies and organ failure. The pollution has hurt the business of a food caterer and a resort in the barangay, so said reports reaching the mayor.
The plant was built without the benefit of a public hearing.
But plant workers, who asked not to be named, said they are implementing the measures to contain the smoke.
Tamiao Barangay Captain Joselito Mahinay supported his constituents’s call to shut down the plant.
He said majority of the 800 families in the barangay wanted the plant closed.
Mayor Quiño, in an interview, said the CDO was enforced in March 2012 yet.
He said he received reports that the plant stopped its operations for several months only to resume.
The mayor said the plant sometimes operated in the evening for about eight hours.
Quiño confirmed the plant has no business permit and an environmental compliance certificate.
He recalled that residents protested in front of the town hall to demand from former mayor Ritchie Wagas to stop the operations but were unheeded.
Quiño assured that the Municipal Government will monitor the plant’s compliance with the closure order.
The Municipal Council had passed a resolution recommending that the mayor shut down the plant due to pollution.
The factory was ordered closed by DENR in 2010.
According to a report on the ABS-CBN website, management’s lawyer Joseph Abaduel had said that their factory helps recycle unused tires. The tires will be burned to be converted into diesel.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 7 had called the attention of Union Tire Philippines last year in response to the complaints of residents about the pollution caused by the plant operation.
DENR 7 spokesman Eddie Llamedo said the agency will penalize the company if found violating ECC conditions. A fine of P50,000 per violation would be imposed.
The mayor had said that Union Tire had failed to present an ECC.
Llamedo told Sun.Star Cebu that during a technical conference in April 2012, the company’s representatives committed to improve their anti-pollution measures.
Meanwhile, the presidents of the Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) and the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), said the closure of Union Tire hurts employment and municipal income but violation of environmental laws should not be tolerated.
Philip Tan said MCCI has a firm stand towards environmental compliance and would support even member-companies violating such laws. With the closure, Tan said the industry can import tires from other countries anytime.
CCCI’s Lito Maderaza said, “We should not sacrifice the environment for the sake of business.”
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on November 02, 2013.