By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), through its Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), has issued an interim cease and desist order (CDO) to Boracay Tubi Systems, Inc. (BTSI) for discharging wastewater that tested positive for fecal coliform in the waters of Boracay Island.
The wastewater discharge was traced from BTSI’s one kilometer outfall pipe from Lugutan area in Barangay Manoc-Manoc to Sibuyan Sea.
According to its webpage, BTSI “operates a complete waterworks system with septage management in the island of Boracay.”
Sinkers were placed on the outfall pipe to secure and prevent it from floating. It was found to be almost 13 kilometers below the water surface.
The interim CDO was issued on Sept. 21 by EMB-Western Visayas Regional Director Ramar Niel Pascua and will be effective for seven days, unless confirmed by the Pollution Adjudication Board. In such case it will become a regular CDO.
“I have made it clear from day one that no one is above the law,” DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu said. “All environmental laws have to be strictly enforced because their primary purpose is to protect our environment and natural resources.”
“We will appropriately deal with the people responsible for this violation,” Cimatu, who is the chair of the Boracay Inter-agency Task Force, said.
In an inspection conducted by the EMB personnel, an outfall pipe was seen to be discharging a large volume of yellowish water.
Laboratory test results revealed that fecal coliform and phosphate from the water sample and residue taken have exceeded the allowable limit for effluent standards for marine water.
The sample collected had a fecal coliform of 3,500 most probable number per 100 ml (MPN/100 ml) against an effluent standard of 400 MPN/100 ml.
Meanwhile, phosphate was at 2.250 milligrams per liter versus the standard 1 mg P/L level.