‘Shipping vessels equipped with sewage tanks’
EMB probes Sta. Fe waste plaint
THE Environmental Management Bureau (EMB-7) said the shipping vessels that head to Sta. Fe Bantayan Island northern Cebu were equipped with sewage tanks, contrary to claims by residents there.
Engineer Cindylyn Pepito, EMB investigator, said their investigation showed that the vessels of the Island Shipping Co. (ISC) and Asian Marine Transport Corp. (AMTC) have sewage tanks that can house 11,000 liters of waste.
Pepito said they inspected five passenger vessels owned by the ISC, two shuttle express of the AMTC, and a cargo vessel, and only the cargo vessel has no sewage tank.
She said there were sewage tanks in all the roll-on-roll-off (Ro-Ro) vessels of the ISC but those were small in size, and the cargo vessel’s toilet bowl flushed directly to the sea.
Pepito said water samples taken from the shore, according to a statement by Sta. Fe Vice Mayor Celso Espinosa, that human wastes found floating into the sea came from the residents of the town.
The result of the water samples will be released next week, she said. At the EMB office, the lawyers for the shipping firms and environment officials agreed to put up a reception facility at Hagnaya port that will house the wastes disposed of by the vessels.
She said a technical conference to be attended by the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), owners of the shipping vessels and local officials will soon be held.
Environmental advocate lawyer Antonio Oposa Jr., a resident of Sta. Fe town, asked local officials and shipping firms to be responsible in cleaning up their environment.
“We don’t want to fight them, we would like to ask them to please comply with the law so that there will no problem and our shores, seas will be cleaned,” he said.
Cabrido said he recommended to the management of the shipping firms to minimize the use of water for flushing especially passengers who are only urinating.
“Our request is based on Presidential Decree 979 as amended during the time of the late President Ferdinand Marcos that only vessels here in the Philippines can dispose of human wastes within five nautical miles,” Cabrido said.
Sta. Fe’s Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office (MENRO) reported last November that their inspection of two vessels of ISC, a passenger vessel of AMTC and a cargo vessel showed that they don’t have septic tanks.
Cebu Daily News tried but was unable to contact Mayor Esgana for his side on the case.
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