370 caught discharging wastes into waterways
A total of 370 households and establishments had been caught discharging wastewater and other discards like grease and used oil into the city’s waterways in 2022.
Assistant City Environment and Parks Management Officer Marivic Empizo said all of them were issued notices of violations and were subjected to follow-through monitoring.
Violators included households and establishments with leaking or overflowing septic tanks, illegal piggeries directly discharging wastewater to the sewer or canals, and establishments that dump grease and used oil into the sewer.
The Cepmo had constantly warned against discharging septage into the waterways to prevent pollution.
Dumping of grease and used oil in the city’s storm drains, meanwhile, constitutes violation of Republic Act 6969 or the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Waste Control Act of 1990.
The city has been receiving reports of restaurants and eateries discreetly disposing grease into the city’s storm drains, prompting Mayor Benjamin Magalong to order an investigation.
The presence of grease deposits in drainage pipes is one of the determined causes of clogging of the water passageways that lead to flooding of streets as cooking oil deposits mixed with water, soil, and waste materials solidify and form a compacted blockage that is difficult to dislodge.
Establishments should comply with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources pollution control requirements for hazardous waste disposal. Said waste is to be collected and treated by the DENR’s accredited contractor subject to permits to be issued by the DENR-Environment Management Bureau pursuant to RA 6969.
Meanwhile, residents who continue to defy laws prohibiting hog-raising in the city were reminded anew that it is not allowed in highly urbanized cities like Baguio as per the city’s Environment Code, RA 8749 or the Clean Air Act, RA 9275 or the Philippine Water Act, and RA 9904 or the Magna Carta for Homeowners and Homeowners Associations.
Sanctions include demolition of pigpens, confiscation of hogs, and filing of criminal charges.
Cepmo head Rhenan Diwas said the laws prohibit hog raising in the city due to the perilous impact to river quality of direct discharge of wastewater, especially from the operation of piggeries within river easements.
Before the city implemented the total closure of piggeries in 2020, the city’s piggery population was at more than 700. The number dwindled to more than 200 towards the deadline set by the city in January 2020.
However, the business again thrived at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Cepmo is currently monitoring and issuing closure notices to a number of residents who insist on operating. – Aileen P. Refuerzo