MORE than a month after a fishkill was reported in three barangays of Pontevedra, the same incident hit a river of another barangay in the southern Negros Occidental town last weekend.
Acting Mayor Jimmy Gavan confirmed to SunStar Bacolod that a portion of Tuburan Creek in Barangay Don Salvador Benedicto was affected by fishkill.
Gavan said last Friday, March 31, personnel of Bantay Dagat had the incident recorded at Pontevedra Municipal Police Station after receiving initial reports of fishkill sightings from the residents.
On Saturday, they again reported to the police the same incident upon validating that there is positive fishkill in the area manifested through dead fishes floating in the river, he added.
Chief Inspector Ryan Salazar, chief of Pontevedra Municipal Police Station, confirmed the said incident was reported to them by Jenny Tarran, team leader of the town’s Bantay Dagat.
“The Department of Environment and Natural Resources along with personnel of Bantay Dagat have taken water samples from the affected area. We are now waiting for the result of the laboratory test,” Gavan said.
The town official said Tuburan Creek is connected to Marayo River that also passes through Barangays San Juan, 1 and 2, where a fishkill happened in February.
The municipal government has formed a team tasked to monitor activities that may cause pollution to its rivers following the recent fishkill incidents.
The creation of the monitoring team came after the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) released results of the previous water sample analysis showing that “all parameters taken are within the standards based on the Revised Water Quality Guidelines and Influence Standards of 2016, provided under Department Administrative Order 2016-08.”
“We cannot yet ascertain that there is pollution on the bodies of water where samples were taken,” EMB-Negros Island Region Head Sophie Manuel then told SunStar Bacolod.
The Community Environment and Natural Resources Office in Bago City, which covers areas from E.B. Magalona to Pontevedra, had attributed the water contamination to the waste water discharged by ethanol plant Roxol Bionergy Corp. (RBC).
RBC, however, dismissed claims that the company’s ethanol plant in Barangay Nagasi, La Carlota City caused the fishkill as it has instituted long-term plans and programs to comply with environmental laws.
Mayor Jose Benito Alonso, who is now out of the country, had earlier said the monitoring team will watch the riverbanks where pipes of RBC and sugar mill Central Azucarera de La Carlota Inc. are situated.
The mill operates in La Carlota City near the river passing through the neighboring town of Pontevedra.
“History would tell us that the town has already been experiencing foul odor and I don’t see any other possible cause of it,” Alonso had earlier said.