The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has removed an illegally installed drainage pipe it discovered within El Nido’s “no-go” beachfront zone.
The pipe, which was found discharging black and foul-smelling liquid directly into Bacuit Bay, was traced to Outpost Beach Hostel located in Barangay Corong-Corong. The establishment had been previously issued a notice of violation by the DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau (DENR) for releasing wastewater beyond effluent quality standards.
DENR Mimaropa Regional Executive Director Henry Adornado ordered the immediate removal of the sewage pipeline, which measured six inches in diameter and six meters in length, after its source was traced to a chamber of the hostel.
The excavation site has since been filled with sand, with the end of the cut pipe left open for further sampling and analysis by the EMB.
Adornado said the hostel’s use of hidden sewage line showed “blatant disregard for the environment” and was a clear violation of the Water Code of the Philippines under Presidential Decree 1067, and Republic Act 9275 or the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004.
“We have no choice but to prevent them from further degrading nature. They are putting the lives of tourists and residents in danger as they continue to pollute Bacuit Bay,” he said.
Paul Sepulveda, a co-owner of Outpost Beach Hostel, admitted that they owned the pipe.
Using a ground penetrating radar, the DENR and its the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) have been conducting since March 18 a survey along the coastal areas of El Nido to detect buried waste pipelines.
“You cannot hide them (pipes) forever. We will eventually uncover them so we advise you to remove your illegal sewage lines and comply with the laws for your own good,” MGB Regional Director Roland de Jesus said, as he advised other establishments in the area to learn from the Outpost Beach Hostel experience to avoid interruption in their operations.
Meanwhile, EMB Regional Director Michael Drake Matias reminded the residents and business owners that Bacuit Bay was being eyed as a Water Quality Management Area, which would need complete cooperation from all stakeholders to improve and maintain its water quality.
“We shall be conducting regular water sampling and analysis not only to Outpost Beach Hostel but also to other establishments to ensure that they do not discharge untreated waste water into Bacuit Bay,” he said.he EMB is set to investigate further for other sources of wastewater discharge aside from the hostel.
Since efforts to restore one of Palawan’s famous beach and diving destinations started last year, the DENR central and Mimaropa offices have been more aggressive in enforcing environmental laws and addressing woes such as encroachment on easement zones and presence of high coliform levels in Bacuit Bay. ###
- Published: 21 April 2019