Naga lifts freeze order on Kepco coal delivery

Posted on November 16, 2012

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Naga City yesterday lifted the cease-and-desist order Mayor Valdemar Chiong issued against a power plant after it submitted an action plan to reduce coal dust pollution which had set off complaints from nearby households.

The mayor said he found the action plan “satisfactory” and that Kepco-SPC Power Corp. president and CEO Bong Joo Choi committed in writing to take immediate steps to solve the dust particles emanating from its main coal yard.

The plan includes lowering the height of coal stockpiled in an open yard, and hiring a street cleanup team each time coal is unloaded on site, as well as holding quarterly consultations with three nearby barangays of Colon, Tangke and North Poblacion.

With this, the power company was allowed to resume unloading and transporting coal for its 200-megawatt plant in Colon.

Residents earlier complained that coal dust was entering their households again, soiling their furniture and clothes, and making children and elderly folk ill with cough and colds. A similar problem in March 2011 prompted Gov. Gwen Garcia to close the firm’s open coal stockyard for several weeks to improve its anti-pollution measures.

“I hope all the solutions presented were already implemented before the CDO was lifted to ensure the problem is really solved,” said Rodien Paca, president of the Naganian Awareness Against Pollution.

He said the problem is bound to recur because Kepco-SPC “made an open storage” behind the closed storage unit.

At the Capitol, Governor Garcia had a closed-door meeting with company officials.

They assured her they would place netting in the open coal yard. They were given a one-month deadline, said Victorio Naval, Kepco-SPC general manager for the committee on relations and environment.

The net or wire mesh to cover the entire open yard is supposed to contain the coal dust. This was listed as one of several “long term solutions” in the action plan which would follow the repair of damaged wind barrier nets.

Naval said one of their 100 megawatt units is under preventive maintenance so coal stocks have accumulated in the stockyard. This and strong winds caused coal dust to sweep through nearby households.

Officials of the Environment Management Bureau – 7 said the coal dust pollution was a result of poor handling of coal stocks. /Carmel Loise Matus and Joy Cherry Quito, Correspondent

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