Turn off generator, hotel told

Posted on November 22, 2012

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The Cebu City Regional Trial Court (RTC) branch 23 ordered the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino to switch off one of its power generators whose continued operation endangered the health of residents in nearby areas.

RTC branch 23 Judge Generosa Labra issued a Temporary Environmental Protection Order (TEPO) and directed Waterfront Hotel and Casino to properly insulate the noise caused by one of its generator sets.

An inspection by a team from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on one of the houses near the hotel showed that the noise caused by the power generator exceeded the maximum level allowed by law.

Labra said Waterfront Hotel and Casino should pass the standard set forth under Presidential Decree 984 otherwise known as the Pollution Control Law.

“The noise pollution caused by the defendant’s (Waterfront) operation of its machinery poses serious health risks to the plaintiffs,” the judge.

A family living near Waterfront filed a complaint against the hotel in 2008 for purportedly violating their “basic human rights to good quality of life and health.”

The Odulio family who resides in Gemsville Subdivision in barangay Lahug, Cebu City, claimed they suffered “asthma, bronchitis, skin asthma, and other forms of allergic reactions” since the generators started operating in 2003.

When they consulted doctors both in the Philippines and abroad, they were told that dust and air pollution were the probable cause of their ailments.

Due to the similarity of the symptoms and ailments, the doctors said the cause of their ailments should be close to their residence.

The Odulio family said their ailments were triggered by the “dark, obnoxiously smelling fumes and dust particles and other air pollutants that came from the exhaust pipes of Waterfront’s generator, boiler, air exchange units, and other machinery.

The exhaust pipes were located on the side of the building facing the property of the Odulio family.

The family said the noise caused by the hotel’s air exchange units and other machinery disturbed their sleep.

The Odulio family also claimed to have suffered from flammable and toxic emissions and dust from an area behind their house which the hotel converted into a workplace for the fabrication and repair of hotel furniture and fixtures.

To alleviate their sufferings, the plaintiffs said they have to take medicines regularly.

The Odulio family said they have to keep their windows shut at all times to minimize the dust and other pollutants from Waterfront’s exhaust pipes.

They said they had to purchase and install an air sanitizing device in their house to filter the dust and other pollutants. Demands were made to the hotel to address the pollution.

Waterfront allegedly admitted the injury they caused to the plaintiffs.

However the Odulio family said the hotel still failed to address their concern.

The plaintiffs said the Environmental Management Bureau of the DENR found the hotel’s operations to have violated the provisions of the Clean Air Act, the Pollution Control Law, and other environmental laws.

In its defense, Waterfront said they have undertaken corrective and mitigating measures to abate the air and noise pollution.

They also vowed to install control devices and rerouting of exhausts serving the generators.

However, Judge Labra said the hotel still failed to completely address the issue.

“Despite compliance of its commitments and the corrective and mitigating measures it has undertaken the noise pollution caused by the defendant’s power generating sets continues,” the judge said in his resolution. /Ador Vincent Mayol, Reporter

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