Concerns raised over Malampaya pollutant discharge

Malampaya Gas-to-Power Project (Photo credit: flickr.com)

A chemical being discharged into the sea by the Malampaya offshore platform in El Nido is beyond the limits set by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), a document obtained by Palawan News indicate.

Based on the latest laboratory test result of effluent samples for the first quarter of 2017, phenols concentration tested from open drain caisson is 48.66 mg/l which is higher than the set standard of DENR which is only 5 mg/l.

Lawyer Robert Chan of Palawan NGO Network Inc. said they have sought for a notice of violation against Malampaya gas project, a joint undertaking of the Philippine national government and the private sector for violating standards on the discharge of the pollutant, called Phenol.

Phenols are one of the chemical compounds being monitored as pollutant in the effluent waste water discharged by the gas project.

In his letter to the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSDS), Chan said that as a regular member of the Palawan Sectoral Monitoring team, PNNI has discovered from the laboratory results that the amount of phenol from the project were consistently excessive to DENR standard.

“Matagal na naming alam yan, since 2009, noong umupo sa monitoring team ang PNNI. Paulit-ulit na niri-recommend for violation, pero nagtataka naman kami, walang nai-issue na notice of violations, “ Chan told Palawan News.

“This means, we have been dumping the equivalent of alcohol and household cleaners in our seas since 2005, and yet no notice was issued despite our numerous motions” Chan stated in his letter.

Shell Philippines has declined to comment on the matter, saying they have not read yet Chan’s letter to PCSD.

PCSDS Executive Director Nelson Devanadera said he will forward the complaint to the Environmental Management Bureau of DENR.

Phenols are naturally occurring in food, human, and animal wastes and decomposing organic material. It is used in plywood, adhesive construction, automotive and appliance industries. It is also used in medicines such as ointments, ear and nose drops, cold sore lotions, throat lozenges

Phenol is not regulated in other countries with offshore oil and gas operations due to its low risk to the environment. It is not considered a Priority Substance under Oslo Paris Convention (Belgium, Denmark, the EU, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, UK).

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