THE City Government of Naga, Cebu asked Salcon Power Corp. (SPC) to act on the allegedly indiscriminate dumping of coal ash in Barangay Tangke.

City Administrator Arthur Villamor said his office received a report that some residents of Tangke are alarmed by the rising pile of ash. City Hall wants an explanation from Salcon, which operates a coal-fired power plant in the adjacent Barangay Colon.

City Hall wants the report “before everything will become worse,” read his March 4 letter to Engr. Rainerio Lastimoso, SPC vice president for operations.

"The Manny Pacquiao Blog". Click here for stories and updates on the Filipino boxing champ.

But an SPC official said the dumping is closely watched and that the ash is kept within the company’s property.

Antonio Corpuz, SPC senior vice-president, told Sun.Star Cebu they are making sure the dumping is controlled and that residents are protected.

SPC has built a water supply system near the dumpsite to keep the coal ash wet, so that particles will not get airborne.

Corpus added the dumpsite near Barangay Tangke is a temporary site, and is being used only because their ash pond has been filled to the brim.

Construction of a new ash pond will take months, because it will require certain materials like a synthetic lining to cover the pond’s bedrock and prevent the ash from going underground.

Corpus said, however, that the extension of their current ash pond may be completed by May or June.

Environmentalists have been pushing for renewable energy to replace coal-fired power plants, saying the waste products, like coal ash, endangers the ground water, plants and people’s health.

The Global Legal Action for Climate Change vocally opposed the planned dumping of coal ash in a former beach resort in Tinaan, Naga, which the Provincial Government bought for about P99 million.

Capitol officials have assured coal ash will not be used to reclaim parts of the property, if an independent study shows this won’t be safe. Coal ash can also be sold to cement manufacturers, who use it as an additive.

The City of Naga also hosts another coal-fired power plant built by the Korea Electric Power Corp. The plant is expected to generate 200 megawatts of additional electricity by 2011. (With JKV)