DENR caps investigation on ‘polluting’ steel mills

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- The Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has completed the ambient air testing conducted on three steel plants which are allegedly sources of pollution.

This was learned from EMB National Air Quality Management Section Chief Gerry Capulong who led the investigation ordered by DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu following the report released by labor rights group Philippine Association of Free Labor Unions (PAFLU) and environmental group Clean Air Philippines Movement Inc. (Capmi).

The report stated that three Pampanga-based smelting plants namely Real Steel Corporation, Melters’ Steel Corporation and Wan Chiong Steel Corporation, along with Metro Dragon Steel Corporation in Caloocan and Mighty Steel Corporation in Davao City have exceeded the maximum level of air quality set by the World Health Organization and is now causing air pollution in the community.

Capulong said they are expecting the results of the ambient air testing this weekend and will determine the next actions that will be implemented by the agency.

If proven that they violated any environmental law, the agency will immediately issue a notice of violation to the three smelting plants as sanction, said Capulong.

He added that the management will then be asked to explain on their non-compliance to the Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999 and their resistance will result to the issuance of a cease and desist order.

“The report released by the environmental group is a serious concern that concerns the environment and the safety of the steel plant’s workers and the residents around the vicinity and needs immediate solution. That is why we are expediting our action to ensure that a quick intervention will be implemented,” he said.

Capulong also said that the agency will be transparent on the results of the ambient air testing, especially to the concerned workers and residents who are waiting for the results.
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