THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Negros Island Region (DENR-NIR) will implement necessary and appropriate actions on the fishkill currently affecting three barangays in Pontevedra, Negros Occidental.
Al Orolfo, regional director of DENR-NIR, said Friday they were ready to implement the ruling of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB).
The EMB implements the mandate on waters, including the Clean Water Act, Department Administrative Order (DAO) 34 that covers water usage and classification, and DAO 35 with provisions to impose penalties on anthropogenic and other sources of pollution to the bodies of water.
On Thursday, DENR’s attached agency along with the municipal government took water samples that were submitted for laboratory analysis.
“According to the EMB, the result of the water sample tests will be out next week,” Orolfo said. “We will wait for its recommendations and will implement it immediately.”
On Wednesday, dead fish like tilapia were found floating in the upstream portions of the river in Barangay San Juan.
The Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro) in Bago City, which covers cities and municipalities from E.B Magalona to Pontevedra, confirmed Thursday that the water contamination has spread to rivers in Barangays 1 and 2.
Cenro-Bago head Joan Nathaniel Gerangaya had earlier said the discoloration of water was most likely caused by the wastewater of bioethanol plant Roxol Bionergy Corp. (RBC) situated in Barangay Nagasi, La Carlota City.
“There is no other cause of water contamination in the area, only the plant’s wastewater flowing at the river passing through Pontevedra,” Gerangaya added.
Moreover, Orolfo said that if there is an established fact on Cenro’s claim, the EMB then has to implement the guidelines.
Orolfo said these measures include a probable notice of violation and a technical conference. If proven, the conference will result to a recommendation to comply.
“If they could not comply with the conditions set by the EMB, there will be stoppage of the plant’s operations as well as payment of necessary penalties,” he added.
For the meantime, DENR official advised residents of affected areas to be cautious and vigilant.
As long as the water contamination is not yet contained, fisherfolk are reminded to refrain from catching fish and other marine products from the river.
Residents in other areas are also urged to report to authorities any fishkill sighting so that necessary measures can be done immediately.
“We will ask the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources to conduct studies on the effects of the contamination to the fish production in the area,” Orolfo said.
The agency will also check whether there is a need for total cleanup of the affected river, he added.