MANILA health authorities have suspended the operation of the Manila North Cemetery Crematorium for lack of permit and excessive pollution in violation of Republic Act 8749 (the Clean Air Act), the EcoWaste Coalition, on Monday, said.
“The suspension of the crematorium’s activities will give the Manila City Government the opportunity to legalize its operation and undertake essential pollution mitigation measures to meet key environmental regulations. We will keenly watch how Manila will mitigate the pollution from the city’s crematory to protect the public health and environment, especially in the adjacent communities” said Aileen Lucero, EcoWaste Coalition National Coordinator.
The crematorium’s closure was ordered by the Manila City government immediately after receiving the EcoWaste Coalition’s complaint. Furthermore, the city government pledges to undertake corrective measures.
Specifically, Clemente San Gabriel, Jr., Manila Health Department Sanitation Division chief, committed to undertake a six-point set of corrective measures which include the following:
1.Stop the crematorium’s operation until such time the necessary repair is completed to control emissions to acceptable levels.
2. Renew the Permit to Operate (PO), and comply with the submission of quarterly Self-Monitoring Reports (SMRs).
3. Improve the smoke stack to meet the required standards within 45 days.
4. Assign an accredited Pollution Control Officer.
5. Register as a Hazardous Waste Generator.
6. File a reply to the Notice of Violation (NOV) within 10 days.
The EcoWaste Coalition had earlier lodged a complaint at the Environment Management Bureau-National Capital Region against the facility for emitting black smoke and for operating without a valid PO.
Responding to the group’s complaint, the EMB-NCR personnel conducted a field investigation on November 7, which provided the basis for the issuance of a NOV by Regional Director Vizminda Osorio on November 25 to the Manila City government.
The NOV, among other things, cited the facility’s violation of R.A. 8749, specifically for operating an air pollution source installation without a valid PO that expired on May 13, 2014, for not submitting the required SMRs since 2009 and for emitting black smoke into the surroundings.
The crematorium was also found in breach of Department of Environment and Natural Resources Administrative Order 2013-22 for failing to register as a hazardous waste generator since the facility generates mercury-containing fluorescent lamp waste.
Pursuant to R.A. 8479 and the DENR Department Administrative Order 2013-22, offenders shall be fined in the amount of P10,000 but not more than P100,000 for every count of violation, the NOV stated.
“It’s most important for the Manila crematorium to clean up its acts considering the proposal to establish more state-funded crematories nationwide. Other local government units will surely look up to this facility as a good or bad example,” Lucero said.
House Bill 135 filed by Ako Bicol Party-List Representative Rodel Batocabe, along with Representatives Christopher Co and Alfredo Garbin, Jr., seeks the establishment of more crematorium facilities in the country to address the prohibitive cost of customary burial.