Toxic waste dumping foiled in Cavite

Posted at 07/16/11 1:14 AM

Members of the Pollution Control Division of the DENR Region IV inspect the 63 drums containing hazardous materials dumped at an open lot in Baranggay Langkaan, Dasmariñas City. The area was discovered after residents noticed and complained the foul odor coming from the site. Sample of the chemicals obtained from the drums are still being analyzed by the DENR. Photo by Rem Zamora for abs-cbnNEWS.com

CAVITE, Philippines – More than 60 barrels of hazardous chemicals were found by authorities in a deserted lot in a village in Dasmariñas, Cavite Friday.

This, after residents of Barangay Langkaan Uno informed authorities of a foul smell coming from the lot.

“May nag-report sa amin na ang ilog dito ay nagkulay chocolate at masama ang amoy. Mayroon silang hukay diyan at naaktohan ko silang nagtatapon,“ said Barangay Captain Teodorico Remulla.

Investigations revealed that the dumping of toxic waste in the area has been happening for 3 weeks.

One of the suspects in the toxic waste dumping, identified as Ramon Olager, is in the custody of police.

Olager claimed that the chemicals were owned by Sol-Chem Corporation in Las Piñas. He said they are dumping the chemicals to sell the barrels.

Residents said the smell of the toxic waste has become unbearable.

“Habang lumalapit ka ay sumasakit ang sikmura, ‘yung parang masakit sa ilong,” said one of the residents Melanie Mananzan.

The chemicals dumped in the lot were confirmed as hazardous. The warning labels on the barrels were also tampered.

“Kung hazardous ‘yan, ang method ng disposal ay hindi tama. Dapat dumaan ito sa proper treatment bago tinatapon,” said Marissa Malabana of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Pollution Control Division.

Used surgical gloves and gas masks were also found at the site.

Police are searching for Teresita de Leon and Roque Galarte, who are believed to be involved in the dumping operation.

“Pwede silang kasuhan ng illegal dumping of toxic waste,” said Capt. Joselito Senia of the Cavite Environmental Protection and Control Division.

The DENR has begun collecting samples of the toxic waste to conduct tests. The charges that will be filed against the suspects will be determined based on the results of the examination. -- Report from Chiara Zambrano, ABS-CBN News