Excess coal stocks, wind caused pollution–Kepco

Posted on November 14, 2012

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Coal stored at Kepco in Naga City. (FILE PHOTO)

An excess stockpile of coal and strong winds resulted in thick, black coal specks being blown to houses near the coal yard of Kepco-SPC Power Corp. in Naga City.

That was the explanation yesterday of the power plant management In a press statement.

Victorio Naval, general manager of the Korean Electric Power Co.-Salcon Power Corp. (Kepco-SPC), said the excess coal stocks came from one of two Kepco power plants that was shut down.

He said Kepco-SPC “immediately stopped the unloading of coal delivieries, cut the level of teh stockpile height” and sprayed water to sensure no more dust would reach the community in.

He said about 10 houses in barangay North Poblacion were affected.

Residents earlier complained to Cebu Daily News that coal specks flying into their households in the past few months has caused cases of frequent coughing, sneezing and eye irritation among residents particularly children.

Rodien Paca, head of the Naganian Awareness Against Pollution (NAAPA), said the coal dust pollution was reduced yesterday after complaints reached the company.

“That doesn’t end the problem. They should look for a good solution to end our suffering. The best solution is to close the coal yard, ” Rodien Paca told Cebu Daily News.

He said Kepco-SPC has put up an open storage behind the closed storage area, causing black dust in the community again.

In March 2011, complaints of coal dust pollution prompted Gov. Gwen Garcia to temporarily halt operations there for a month for Kepco-SPC to take remedial steps of its open coal yard.

The company agreed to close the sides of the stockyard and raise the walls to reduce dust emission.

The problem surfaced anew a few months ago.

Regional Director Fernando Quililan of the Environmental Management Bureau said they sent staff to to inspect the coal yard.

“Unless I read the official reports of the inspection, that’s when I can say what needs to be done,” he said.

After the inspection, DENR put up air samplers in the vicinity to monitor the emission of coal dust from the company’s coal yard.

Governor Garcia yesterday said she will call a meeting with Kepco-SPC officials on the case.

She said the incident shouldn’t give fuel to the ecology advocates to butt in on the issue.

“They’re quiet…We had rotating brownouts two weeks ago, why aren’t they complaining? The right thing to do is continue to protect the environment while at the same time continue to protect this development that we are now seeing,” she added.

A cease and desist order was issued by the Capitol on Kepco-SPC last April 2011 after residents complained of the dust pollution. The order was lifted after two weeks after she was satisfied with their corrective measures. /Joy Cherry S. Quito and Carmel Loise Matus, Correspondents

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