EMB 7 urged to cancel power plant’s ECC over pollution, noise issues

NINE individuals, seven of whom are residents of Barangay Bato in Toledo City, have filed a complaint against the company that runs a coal-fired plant situated in the southwestern Cebu village over pollution issues that it allegedly didn’t address.The complainants have asked the Environmental Management Bureau in Central Visayas (EMB 7) to issue a cease and desist order against Therma Visayas Inc.(TVI) for allegedly not addressing the pollution from its coal-fired power plant.The group also called for the cancellation of TVI’s Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) for failing to address the problem on several occassions.The complainants said this was the fourth complaint they filed against TVI.They filed the complaint before EMB 7 on Wednesday, April 7, 2022, and were assisted by lawyers Marianne Cabacungan-Esbra and Aaron Pedrosa of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) and Sanlakas.SunStar Cebu tried to get TVI’s side on the matter Thursday but the company declined to comment. TVI is a joint venture of Aboitiz Power Corp. and Vivant Corp.The complainants led by Ranulfo Honoridez said that all of them have been affected by the plant’s black dust emissions caused by a destroyed conveyor, which they said was not repaired by TVI ever since Typhoon Odette (Rai) hit their barangay last December.Honoridez said most of them have gotten sick because of the black dust being emitted by the plant.According to Honoridez, black dust coming from the plant has reached their homes.“Every morning when I wake up, my throat itches, there is rasping like fine sand. My skin also itches, there is fine dust when I wipe it with a rag every morning and you can see the black dust,” Honoridez said, in his affidavit.Some of the residents have also claimed that TVI has not addressed the noise coming from its plant which has prevented them from getting a good night’s sleep.They have also claimed that aside from noise, vibrations from the plant’s conveyors would often wake them up especially during dawn.This was not the first time that TVI had faced such a complaint.In 2019, TVI officials were ordered by Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia to install an online emission data transmission system to improve its air quality monitoring after she received complaints from residents who were allegedly suffering from skin and respiratory illnesses due to the plant’s operations.Following the meeting with Garcia, TVI had vowed to improve its operations. (PAC / TPT)