Coal plant urged to install system to check air quality

MEASURES TAKEN. Therma Visayas Inc.’s coal-fired power plant in Bato, Toledo City is addressing residents’ complaints on its operations. (SunStar Photo/Amper Campaña)

THE management of a private coal-fired power plant in Toledo City has until Monday, Oct. 22, 2019, to install an online emission data transmission system to improve its air quality monitoring.

The development came after Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia called for a meeting with officials of Therma Visayas Inc. (TVI), the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) 7 and the Toledo City Government following complaints on skin and respiratory illnesses raised by residents of two barangays in the southwestern city.

“I insisted, since they are not yet online with the emission data-based transmission to EMB, immediately by next week Monday, that should already be installed. I said, ‘With all of your vast resources, please don’t say you have a weak internet signal there,’” Garcia said on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019.

Earlier, TVI, which runs the coal-fired power plant, said it is taking measures to address the community’s complaints.

TVI is a joint venture of Aboitiz Power Corp. and Vivant Corp.

“We determined that the foul stench arose from the spontaneous combustion of the coal, of which they had an oversupply because their two plants were down for two weeks. Now, it’s operating and they have already instituted remedial measures. As of yesterday (Oct. 15), as affirmed by the Toledo City administrator, the foul stench was gone,” Garcia said.

Spontaneous combustion happens when a substance unexpectedly bursts into flames without application of an external source. It will occur when a combustible matter, like coal, is stored in bulk.

Aside from technical measures, the governor suggested planting Indian trees or plants that can serve as “natural filters” against the stench.

“(But) I did issue a warning to TVI that this should never happen again. When their plants bog down, they should already institute measures to prevent spontaneous combustion of an oversupply of their coal inventory. There are measures that they could take and could have taken, and they’ve promised to do so,” Garcia added.

Sought for comment, Wilfredo Rodolfo III, assistant vice president for branding and communication of Aboitiz Power Corp., said they’d look into the matter. (RTF)


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