By Chito Chavez
An environmental group said it will relentlessly pursue its campaign against smoke-belching factories until every single polluting plant in the country is shut down.
The move was made by the group Clean Air Philippines Movement Incorporated (CAPMI) after it filed numerous complaints before the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) against several steel companies based in Pampanga, Davao City and Caloocan City for various violations of the Clean Air Act and the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) or ECC law of the Philippines.
In a press briefing in Quezon City, CAPMI president Manuel Galvez has renewed their call to concerned government agencies to run after erring firms that pollute the environment.
He said it remains a puzzle why some smoke-belching factories in the country continue to operate even without the required permit to operate (PTO) and environmental clearance certificate (ECC) from the EMB.
Airing fears that the situation would turn worse, Galvez appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to intercede as climate change due to pollutants has started to ruin the environment.
If left with no other choice, Galvez said it may be the best option for the President to follow the same track of his anti-illegal drug campaign as some factories continue to operate under the very noses of public officials even without the required environmental clearance certificate (ECC).
He explained that an ECC is a vital document required before any industrial establishment can be given the needed permits to engage in a business.
Galvez said the massive air pollution emitted by the erring factories clearly pose a danger not only to the environment but also to the health and lives of factory workers inside these establishments as well as the people in the community where the factories are located.
The environmentalist pleaded to Duterte to compel all factories to comply with Republic Act 8749 or the Clean Air Act of 1999 which is the law that protects the quality of air the people breathe in the country.
He also appealed to the Chief Executive to sack corrupt men in the government and have them prosecuted for conniving with errant factory owners in exchange for financial gain or other similar perks.
Galvez said the President should look into their grievance against the EMB’s supposed inaction on their complaints made months ago against the factories that continue to emit deadly air pollutants.
“On behalf of the unwilling victims who are continuously being exposed to the dangerous air pollution from these steel mills we are appealing to government to immediately put a stop to this environmental crime. Each day of inaction clearly results in another day of life-threatening air pollution exposure that our people in these areas are subjected to,’’ he added