CEBU CITY -- A lawyer urged a government agency Sunday to cancel the environmental compliance certificate (ECC) of Salcon Power Corp. (SPC) in Naga City for allegedly violating laws governing the proper disposal of their plant’s wastes, like coal ash.

Lawyer Gloria Estenzo-Ramos of the Global Legal Action for Climate Change (Glacc) appealed to the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) to review the company’s ECC.

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This, after the Naga City Government asked the company to explain the allegedly indiscriminate dumping of coal ash in Barangay Tangke, a village situated near the SPC’s coal-fired power plant.

In a separate interview, SPC senior vice president Antonio Corpus said the lawyer must also consider what is greatly needed for Cebu as of the moment, which is power.

“They can say what they want but if we are forced to stop our operations, then power within Cebu and the Visayas grid will be affected,” said Corpus.

Ramos, in an interview Sunday, said the incident illustrates what she and fellow environmentalists have said about the dangers of coal ash, which may contain toxic substances like mercury.

“Coal ash should not be piled up but entombed in order to prevent any contamination of the environment,” said Ramos. Neither should coal ash be dumped near inhabited areas, she said.

Ramos also urged the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and EMB to come up with guidelines on how to dispose of or properly contain waste products like coal ash.

She asked the Naga City Government, led by Mayor Valdemar Chiong, and the Cebu Provincial Government to create measures that will control SPC’s dumping activities in the city.

Naga City Administrator Arthur Villamor wrote SPC last week about a report that some residents of Barangay Tangke were alarmed by the rising pile of coal ash.

Corpuz clarified the area is part of SPC property and will only serve as a temporary dumping site until their coal ash pond is cleared. (JKV/Sun.Star Cebu)