Thursday 12 June 2008
Greenpeace accused of polluting Pagbilao BayTHURSDAY |JUNE 12, 2008 |
BY MYLA IGLESIAS
Team Energy yesterday accused environment activist group Greenpeace of polluting the waters of Pagbilao Bay while conducting its protest, contrary to the cause that it is fighting for.
Greggy Romualdez, External Affairs Head of TeaM Energy, said the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior discharged sewage quality water into the Pagbilao bay containing coliform that is 180 times the tolerate level prescribed by the environment department.
"We think it is not too much to ask of Greenpeace to observe and respect the country's environment laws and regulations," he said.
He said a chemical analysis conducted by the chemical services section of the Team Energy on the water discharged by the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior into Pagbilao Bay during the course of its three-day protest on May 23-25 revealed high amounts of coliform that exceeds acceptable levels for a specified body of water.
Team Energy, in a letter addressed to the ship's captain Michael James Ian Fincken, said the discharging of the white, frothy liquid was captured by the plant's security cameras on several occasions.
Romualdez said water samples discharged by the Greenpeace vessel contained 895,400 MPN/100ML, way above the limit. The coliform level of normal seawater in the area which was tested for comparison was only 1,181 MPN/100 ML.
As per the DENR's Department Administrative Order 34, Guidelines for Water Quality, acceptable standards for coliform in Class SC sea-water (Recreational Waters, Fishery Waters for commercial and sustenance fishing) is set at a maximum of 5,000 MPN (most probable number) per 100 milliliters (MPN/100ML).
He said the Clean Water Act of 2004 also prohibits the discharge into natural bodies of water of such pollutants.
"The sensible thing for them to do was at least discharge of their waste into the open sea where it has less risk of contaminating the coastal environment," he said.
Greenpeace Southeast Asia Executive Director Von Hernandez said Team Energy was engaged in a "crooked smear campaign" meant to discredit Greenpeace and "deflect attention away from their own environmental misdeeds."
Hernandez said the alleged results of the sampling was "shady and highly questionable at best."
He said the ship's onboard treatment plant is approved among others by the (British & Dutch) Lloyd's Register under MARPOL standard 'IMO MARPOL MEPC.2 (VI),' which guarantees that the contents of fecal coliforms do not exceed 250 per 100 millimetre MPN, and a geometric mean of total suspended solids of 50 milligrams per litre.