Back to Black, and Back Again: A Case of Toxic Pollution in Angat, Bulacan
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Back to Black, and Back Again: A Case of Toxic Pollution in Angat, Bulacan

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Atty. Alaya M. de Leon, Ateneo School of Government, Pacifico Ortiz Hall, Social Development Complex, Ateneo de Manila University, Loyola Heights, Quezon City. Phone 426-4279. E-mail ayadeleon@gmail.com.

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Back to Black, and Back Again: A Case of Toxic Pollution in Angat, Bulacan Back to Black, and Back Again: A Case of Toxic Pollution in Angat, Bulacan Document Transcript

  • Back to Black, and Back Again:A Case of Toxic Pollution in Angat, BulacanFlora L. Santos, Antonio G.M. La Viña and Alaya M. de Leon A Briefing Paper on the operations of Philpao Enterprise, a tire pyrolysis facility in Angat, Bulacan October 17, 2011
  • ContentsIntroduction .................................................................................................................................................. 2Tire Pyrolysis ................................................................................................................................................. 2Scrap Tire Management Program and Prospects for Tire Pyrolysis ............................................................. 3 National Scrap Tire Management Initiative .............................................................................................. 3 For Perspective: Scrap Tire Recycling Program in California, USA ............................................................ 4The Philpao Enterprise Tire Pyrolysis Facility: A Case Study ......................................................................... 5 The Facility ................................................................................................................................................ 5 Health Effects ............................................................................................................................................ 6 The Link Between Tire Pyrolysis and Health.............................................................................................. 6 Tire Pyrolysis – A Problem Rather Than A Solution .................................................................................. 7 Philpao’s Environmental Performance Report and Management Plan and Environmental Clearance Certificate .................................................................................................................................................. 7Administrative Action and Philpao’s Continued Operations ........................................................................ 9 Early Initiatives to Stop Philpao Operations.............................................................................................. 9 Short-lived Respite from Pollution .......................................................................................................... 10 Drastic yet Ineffective: Cancellation of Philpao ECC ............................................................................... 11 Denial of Application for a New ECC ....................................................................................................... 12 Philpao Operation Without an ECC ......................................................................................................... 13References .................................................................................................................................................. 16Figure 1. Environmental damage caused by tire pyrolysis. ........................................................................ 17Figure 2. Pictures of Philpao Enterprises facility, many of which were taken during the MMT monitoringin August 2010. Philpao was making repeated requests to resume operation at this time. ..................... 18Figure 3. Documentation of smoke emissions from Philpao Enterprises which coincided with odorepisodes ...................................................................................................................................................... 19 1
  • Back to Black, and Back Again: A Case of Toxic Pollution in Angat, Bulacan* Flora L. Santosa Antonio G. M. La Viñab and Alaya M. de LeoncIntroductionIn July 2009, a tire pyrolysis facility for the production of oil started operations in BarangayPulong Yantok, Angat, Bulacan. The facility was located near the boundary between PulongYantok and Barangay Encanto. Soon after these operations started, people living nearby werebothered by the foul odor of emissions from the facility, which caused a variety of illnesses. Theearliest symptoms reported by residents were difficulty in breathing, clogged nose, coughing,chest pain, and eye irritation (Ocate, 2010; Jorge, 2009). Other symptoms, including fatigue anda general feeling of weakness, were recognized later, when those afflicted felt relief during briefperiods of non-operation by the facility.Observers also noted signs of environmental pollution: black soot from the facility coveredroofs, leaves and other surfaces; oily contamination on the ground and surface water; and sacksof pyrolysis char were dumped in inappropriate places close to the facility. People whocollected rainwater for drinking could no longer use it because it was contaminated with soot.Figure 1 documents the environmental damage caused by tire pyrolysis. Two other tirepyrolysis facilities have started operating in Binagbag, Angat and Partida, Norzagaray. Other tirepyrolysis facilities have also been established in other locations in Central Luzon.Tire PyrolysisTire pyrolysis is the thermal degradation of scrap tires in the absence of air, to producepyrolytic gas, oil, and char. Steel tis also obtained from the pyrolysis of steel-belted radial tires.Pyrolytic gas may be fed back to the system and used as fuel for the process. Pyrolysis char canbe purified and used as a substitute for some carbon black applications (C. Clark, 1991). Tirepyrolysis facilities currently operating in the country produce oil that can be used as areplacement for fuel oil.* A Briefing Paper on the operations of Philpao Enterprise, a tire pyrolysis facility in Brgy. Pulong Yantok, Angat,Bulacan, October 17, 2011. Please direct all inquiries to Flora L. Santos, 383 Sentinela Road, Encanto, Angat,Bulacan; E-mail florasantos27@yahoo.com.a Technical Adviser, Notre Dame de Vie Institute; Former Project leader, Philippine Nuclear Research Institute AirPollution Project.b Dean, Ateneo School of Government.c Legal Specialist, Ateneo School of Government. 2
  • The byproducts of tire pyrolysis are known toxic and hazardous substances. Thus, a tirepyrolysis facility must be designed in such a manner as to control the release of dangerousbyproducts, and prevent adverse effects to the public health and environment. A fully-equippedtire pyrolysis facility cannot be low-tech or low-cost, and cannot be operated like a backyardindustry. A facility that handles dangerous substances must have a management system thatincludes documented operational procedures, a waste management plan, an emergencyresponse plan, and a safety manual, among other requirements.Scrap Tire Management Program and Prospects for Tire PyrolysisWith the increased use of vehicles, the volume of used or worn-out tires, also referred to asscrap or waste tires, is growing and becoming a major component of the solid waste disposalproblem in the country. A system for the management of scrap tires is necessary to ensure thatthey are properly accounted for, and that they are stored in properly-designed facilities. Tirefires should be prevented at all costs.1 And before they are promoted as disposal solutions forscrap tires, recycling options should be evaluated with respect to viability, adverse healtheffects, and environmental impacts.National Scrap Tire Management InitiativeIn February 2003, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), under then-Secretary Elisea G. Gozun, and representatives of the tire industry – Tire Importers and Tradersof the Philippines (TITAP), Tire Manufacturers Association of the Philippines (TMAP), andPhilippine Retreaders Association (PRA) – signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA)launching a scrap tire retrieval and disposal program (Philippines Launches New Program onTires, 2003). Aimed at discouraging the open burning of tires, a prohibited practice underSections 48 and 49 the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 (Republic Act No.9003), the MoA was an initial step in the management of scrap tires in the country. However,the authors have found no further documentation of this program.An instructional material on recycling published by the National Solid Waste ManagementCommission (NSWMC, 2006) suggests that a large volume of used tires collected in MetroManila are turned over to HOLCIM for the production of tire derived fuel (TDF) for cement kilns.A small volume of tires is used to make sandals and pots. Retreading and recapping are listedamong tire recycling technologies but the source of tires is not known (NSWMC, 2006).1 The burning of tires emits dangerous substances, among which are known carcinogens and toxins that target vitalorgans. These pose significant acute and chronic health hazards to those exposed to the plume. Expected healtheffects include skin, eye, and mucous membrane irritation, respiratory symptoms, central nervous systemdepression, and cancer (Reismann & Lemieux, 1997). 3
  • For Perspective: Scrap Tire Recycling Program in California, USAThe California Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB) was tasked to develop a scraptire recycling program for the state, which it implemented through a series of laws:  Assembly Bill 1843 (Stats. 1989, c. 974) created the California Tire Recycling Act and established the system for granting permits to facilities for the storage and disposal of waste tires, including the development of technical standards for facilities. It also initiated a tire recycling program that allowed the Board to give grants for tire recycling activities, and support the promotion and development of markets for used tire products. The programs were funded by the California Tire Recycling Management Fund (Tire Fund) raised from a USD 0.25 fee for tires left with dealers.  Senate Bill 744 (Stats. 1993, c. 511) established requirements for waste tire hauler registration, to ensure that scrap tires were brought only to approved facilities  Assembly Bill 2108 (Stats. 1996, c. 304) imposed fees on new tire purchases rather than on old tires turned over to the dealer.  Assembly Bill 117 (Stats. 1998, c. 1020) imposed regular reporting on the tire program to the Legislature and Governor by June 30, 1999. The report had to include a status report on waste tires in California, an examination of programs needed to provide sustainable end uses for the waste tires generated in the state, and the reduction of existing waste tire stockpiles, as well as recommendations for legislation. (Integrated Waste Management Board Legislative and External Affairs Office, 1998)In 2000, Senate Bill 876 (Escutia, Chapter 838, Statutes of 2000) was passed, requiring CIWMBto submit a five-year tire plan to the Legislature. The first plan, entitled Five-Year Plan for theWaste Tire Recycling Management Program, Fiscal Years 01/02–05/06: Report to theLegislature was submitted in September 2001 (CIWMB, 2001), and was updated every twoyears thereafter (CIWMB, 2003; 2005; 2007; and 2009).The tire recycling options identified for California and the percentage of their application in2006 are as follows:  Disposal in specialized dumpsites (24.9%)  TDF2 – Cement (15.3%)  TDF – Power (2.8%)  Export (4.1%)  Retread (9.6%)  Agriculture and others (7.2%)  Alternative Daily cover (9.8%)  Civil Engineering (7.2%)2 TDF is used in facilities whose processes require heating to a high enough temperature in order to burnpotentially toxic emissions. 4
  •  Rubberized asphalt concrete (8.5%)  Crumb rubber (5.9%)  Reuse or resale (4.6%)Pyrolysis was not included among these options (CIWMB, 2009).Similarly, in Nova Scotia, Canada, a committee tasked in 2008 with identifying tire recyclingoptions for the province identified lightweight engineering fill or tire derived aggregates, ratherthan TDF or pyrolysis. The committee pointed out that no successful commercial tire pyrolysisplant was operating in North America, Europe, or Japan, even though the technology had beenin existence for more than 60 years (Nova Scotia Interdepartmental Committee on Used TireManagement, 2008).It is only recently that the USA opened its doors to tire pyrolysis as a recycling option. There hasbeen a proposal for a state-of-the-art facility capable of recycling 100 tons of tires a day, toproduce high quality oil, nanograde carbon black, and steel. The facility can also generateelectricity for export (Klean Industries, 2010).These examples show that identifying options for tire recycling, given the potentially hazardousnature of their operation, must be a serious and thorough exercise. The Philippines shouldexert as much care in selecting its tire recycling options, and ensure that these have beensufficiently evaluated by the appropriate government agencies before they are allowed orpromoted.The Philpao Enterprise Tire Pyrolysis Facility: A Case StudyThere are currently three (3) tire pyrolysis facilities operating in the Angat-Norzagaray area,among which is one run by Philpao Enterprise (“Philpao”). It is located in Brgy. Pulong Yantok,Angat. On January 23, 2009, the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), Region III(alternatively, “Regional Office”), of the DENR issued Philpao an Environmental ComplianceCertificate (ECC) covering “the operation of waste oil processing.” On June 25, 2009, Philpaowas granted an amended ECC covering “the operation of oil extraction from waste/scraprubber tires,” or scrap tire pyrolysis. Philpao began its tire pyrolysis operations in July 2009.The FacilityOn February 8, 2011, then-DENR Secretary Eleazar Quinto himself led a team to close down thePhilpao facility and enforced a Cease and Desist Order (CDO) against Philpao, issued by theDENR Secretary in December 2009. At the request of EMB Region III, members of a MultipartiteMonitoring Team formed to monitor Philpao’s operations made a few visits to the facility. Theteam was shocked at how crude the equipment and facilities were, and how poor thehousekeeping was. There was soot everywhere, and oily effluent flowed through unlined open 5
  • canals. A shed provided cover only for several thermal processors and an ash pit. Everythingelse, including a storage tank for the finished product, were exposed to the elements andshowed signs of corrosion.The thermal processors were heated through wood-fed fire. Fugitive emissions leaked fromthem. On several occasions, water in the condensing pond was found with a layer of ash. Therewas also moss on the surface of the pond for reserved water. The oil-water separators were atone point covered only with a metal sheet. The area for recovery of pyrolysis char was open towind and rain, making it susceptible to the dispersion of particulate matter. Figure 2 documentsthe condition of Philpao’s facilities.Health EffectsThe earliest written complaints about Philpao were submitted to officials of Brgy. Encanto andthe Municipality of Angat. These letters cited illnesses caused by Philpao’s operations: throatirritation, chest congestion, excessive phlegm formation, eye and skin irritation, headache,dizziness, upset stomach, and fever. The death of two elderly Brgy. Encanto residents wasbelieved to have been compounded by tire pyrolysis pollution from Philpao’s facility – oneperson’s pneumonia was aggravated by exposure to the harmful emissions, and the otherchoked on excessive phlegm which she had been too weak to expel.Accounts of these illnesses were then gathered and submitted to the Department of Health(DOH) Region III Office, with a request to validate the observations. A doctor from DOH RegionIII then conducted research related to the health effects of Philpao’s tire pyrolysis operations.Preliminary data showed lower pulmonary function among children 7-8 years old, in barangayslocated within 3 km of Philpao’s plant, compared with those in Laog, a selected control areabeyond the 3 km radius.In August 2010 and July 2011, two surveys were conducted documenting the symptoms ofaffected individuals after they experienced extremely strong odors from emissions from thePhilpao facility. The deleterious health and environmental effects of Philpao’s operations arealso corroborated in a January 2010 report prepared by the Blacksmith Institute, aninternational non-profit organization focused on addressing pollution in developing countries.The report revealed contamination of soil and water by toxic metals (Ocate, 2010).The Link Between Tire Pyrolysis and HealthThe health effects of Philpao’s operations were documented and analyzed with the assistanceof the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute. A Gent dichotomous sampler was used for thecollection of air particulate matter in the PM10 range, fractionated to PM2.5 (fine) and PM10-2.5 (coarse) ranges. Elemental characterization of the samples by XRF Spectrometry, amultielemental method of analysis, proved that tire pyrolysis fumes actually reached the areawhere residents manifested various symptoms associated with these fumes. The concentrationof Zn, an additive in tires which is an important signature element, went down to zero after thetire pyrolysis facility stopped operations in February 2010 due to the enforcement of the CDO. 6
  • There was a reduction in the concentrations of other additives (Pb, S, Al, Si, Mg) and Black C,although these did not go down to zero due to contribution from other sources (Santos,Pabroa, Bucal, & Bautista, 2011). The negative health symptoms in affected individuals ceasedwhen the facility stopped operating, coinciding with a reduction in the concentration ofsignature elements for tire pyrolysis.Tire Pyrolysis – A Problem Rather Than A SolutionInstead of providing a solution to the scrap tire disposal problem, actual tire pyrolysis practiceshave caused more health and safety issues. Toxic substances that are so to speak immobilizedin tires, are released uncontrollably in gaseous, liquid, and solid by-products once they undergothe pyrolysis process.For example, tire pyrolysis produces pyrolysis char, a solid byproduct of the pyrolysis process. Inthe case of Philpao, the company did not convert its pyrolysis char into useful products, butdiscarded it like ordinary waste. Workers at the facility handled the char without any protectiveclothing or gear and were exposed to the ash, which in addition to being a lung irritant is loadedwith toxic byproducts. Philpao’s char has been found unceremoniously dumped in remote areasof Angat. Philpao claimed that a neighbor had asked for the char that was found in areasadjacent to the plant, be used as filling material (Basa, 2010). Another recently-discovereddumpsite is close to the small bridge of Talbak, along a creek and adjacent to rice fields andseveral poultries.When the sacks that Philpao dumped were damaged, the pyrolysis char spilled and scattered,causing the ground around the sacks to blacken. Toxic constituents from the ash that leachedinto the ground may have caused widespread contamination, putting at risk the quality ofground and surface water. The February 1, 2011 EMB Order denying Philpao’s request for anew ECC cited as an outstanding issue the toxicity classification of pyrolysis char. Among therequirements of the order was the inclusion of polyaromatic hydrocarbons (Volatile OrganicCarbon)3 (sic) As, Ba, Cd, Cr, Pb, Hg and Se in the Toxicity Classification Leaching Procedure testson the ash prior to disposal.Philpao’s Environmental Performance Report and Management Plan and EnvironmentalClearance CertificateThe documents submitted in support of Philpao’s ECC application were insufficient bases forgranting the ECC. The supporting documents did not contain the necessary information on howpublic health and the environment would be protected from the hazardous effects of tirepyrolysis. Numerous letters were written bringing these concerns to the highest leadership ofthe DENR. Recognizing that the facility was substandard and that its emissions contained toxicand hazardous substances, including feared carcinogens, no less than three DENR Secretarieshave supported the campaign to stop the facility. However, implementation remains wanting.3 VOC’s are distinct from PAH 7
  • The ECC and the Environmental Performance Report and Monitoring Plan (EPRMP) areinadequate on the following points: 1. Incomplete description of facility, the process and the type of antipollution devices. A proper evaluation of the performance of the facility could not have been made. Additional anti-pollution devices had to be added after the CDO was first imposed. 2. Environmental parameters: The list of pollutants in the gaseous and liquid discharges, determinant of mitigation measures and of the environmental monitoring program, was incomplete. Volatile organic compounds and hazardous chemicals such as PAHs and dioxins were omitted. 3. Solid Waste Management: No substantial solid waste management plan was indicated. This led to the mishandling of pyrolysis char, which was disposed of as ordinary waste prior to toxicity evaluation. 4. Environmental monitoring: There was no comprehensive monitoring plan that characterized the levels of pollutants at different phases of the pyrolysis process.4 Monitoring results were said to show that the pollutants were at levels “lower than the EMB standards.” However, not all critical pollutants were measured and there were not enough measurements. Two measurements taken during the 30-day monitoring period were not sufficient for a system, the emission levels of which had not been fully characterized. Some of these measurements were done for the first time since the facility started operating. In addition, national guideline values are incomplete and in some cases too high, in comparison with those of other countries that consider health effects in a standard setting. 5. Emergency response plan: The plan was not substantial, with the serious omission of emergency arising from fire in the facility. Fumes from burnt tires can pose dangers to the workers, firefighters, and the surrounding communities. 6. Occupational Health and Safety: Protection against toxic and hazardous substances was not adequate. Examples are fugitive fumes in the workplace and improper handling of pyrolysis char, which were manually packed in sacks causing workers to become entirely black with soot. Pyrolysis char is a lung irritant and contains known carcinogens.Important commitments under the EPRMP were never satisfactorily met, particularly the hiringof a Pollution Control Officer (PCO). Much of the damage to health and the environment couldhave been avoided, had Philpao taken this requirement seriously. The role of the PCO was veryimportant because Philpao did not have not have the necessary expertise to be able to4 Only stack monitoring was specified in the Plan. Other potential exit points of pyrolysis gases were notmonitored: afterburner or flare; gaseous emissions during recovery of pyrolysis char from the processor;resuspended powder during transfer of char to sacks; transfer of product to tanker; and fugitive emissions fromthermal processor. The list of parameters to be measured was incomplete and the frequency of monitoring wasvague. Only criteria pollutants and VOC’s were listed. Particular compounds in the Benzene, toluene and xylenegroup of compounds (BTX), which account for all the observed negative health symptoms, were not included.Some national standards are also too high compared to international standards. 8
  • understand the requirements of environmental laws. And yet this important requirement wasnot satisfied, in spite of repeated reminders up to the time that the ECC was cancelled onOctober 29, 2010.It is alarming that a tire pyrolysis facility, which generates highly toxic and hazardoussubstances, was able to so easily secure an ECC for its operations. This is despite the fact that itdid not provide sufficient information on pollution prevention, monitoring, and managementfor its intended activity. Even after the adverse effects on health and the environment had beenreported to the proper authorities, the facility was still able to operate under an officialissuance by the EMB, while the victims of Philpao’s emissions were left unprotected.Administrative Action and Philpao’s Continued OperationsEarly Initiatives to Stop Philpao OperationsIn September 2009, following complaints from adversely affected communities, then-AngatMunicipal Mayor Leonardo de Leon ordered the closure of the Philpao facility. On September 3,2009, the Regional Office of the EMB, with the staff of GMA-7 program Imbestigador andPhilippine National Police (PNP) officers, conducted an inspection of the facility based onreports of black emissions and noxious odors coming from the plant. The plant was notoperational at that time, but the inspecting team was able to take an effluent sample ofwastewater discharged from the plant. Analysis of the sample showed that it failed the DENREffluent Standard for Oil and Grease. This prompted EMB Region III to issue Philpao a Notice ofViolation (NOV) of Republic Act No. (RA) 9275, or the Clean Water Act.At a Technical Conference conducted by the EMB Regional Office, Philpao committed toaddress the odor, air emissions, and effluents from its facility, as well as the illegal dumping ofpyrolysis char. Upon the company’s failure to comply with its own commitment, the RegionalDirector of EMB Region III issued a Memorandum on September 29, 2009, recommending theissuance of a Cease and Desist Order (CDO) against Philpao. The Pollution Adjudication Board(PAB) of the DENR subsequently issued a Memorandum to the DENR Secretary, datedNovember 18, 2009, similarly recommending the issuance of a CDO. The Secretary issued aCDO against Philpao on December 2, 2009 for violation of the Clean Water Act.In spite of the CDO, Philpao carried on with its tire pyrolysis operations in outright disregard ofthe Secretary’s order. On January 7, 2010, a DENR inspection Team led by Regional ExecutiveDirector Ricardo Calderon visited the facility to verify reports of its continued operation, anddiscovered that it was indeed operating. Philpao personnel had removed the concrete seal on aplant discharge pipe to prevent its use. In its place was installed a plastic by-pass pipe that ledto a nearby creek. The Regional Office submitted a Memorandum to PAB detailing theseviolations, which the Board received on January 12, 2010. 9
  • On the same date, Notre Dame de Vie Institute5 (NDV) submitted a letter to PAB with anaccount of Philpao’s continued operation. It stated that NDV residents continued to experiencefoul odors and ailments caused by emissions from the facility. It also reported that the companyhad removed the “closed” signs on its gate and that sacks of pyrolysis were char stacked in thevicinity of the facility, and that two sacks of the carbonaceous waste had fallen off a cliff. Itmentioned oil and grease contamination in the soil and run-off water in the NDV property.Based on these reports, PAB issued an Order on January 18, 2010, requiring Philpao to “showcause why no criminal charges should be filed against it for continuously disregarding the lawfulorder of *PAB+” under Section 28 of the Clean Water Act. PAB also reiterated its directive toPhilpao to cease its activities and the operation of its machineries, reminding the company thatfines against it will continue to accrue until it complies with DENR Effluent Standards. Lastly,PAB directed the EMB Regional Office to re-execute the December 2, 2009 CDO.Philpao failed to comply with PAB’s “show cause” order. The attempt of an EMB Region IIIteam to deactivate and padlock Philpao’s pollution and wastewater-generating equipment onJanuary 29, 2010 was unsuccessful, because the team was refused entry into the facility. It wasonly on February 8, 2010, when Acting DENR Secretary Eleazar Quinto himself led a DENR teamto close down the facility with the assistance of the PNP, were Philpao’s thermal processorsfinally padlocked and its discharge pipes sealed.Short-lived Respite from PollutionOnly three (3) months after the successful closure of the facility, PAB issued a Temporary LiftingOrder (TLO) in favor of Philpao on May 4, 2010. While the CDO remained in effect, the TLOauthorized the conduct of sampling activities at the facility for fifteen (15) days in order toassess the efficiency of the newly installed pollution control devices which should have beenpart of the plant design in the first place. On May 5, 2010, the EMB Region III issued an Orderpursuant to the PAB TLO, additionally requiring Philpao to meet the following conditions: (1)install adequate piping to the after burner to avoid venting of the excess gases, (2) riprap thestretch along the creek to contain piled up sacks of carbon ash and avoid slips/slides into thewater body; (3) submit an ash disposal plan, and (4) form a Multipartite Monitoring Team(MMT).On June 24, 2010, EMB Region III issued an Order re-imposing the December 2, 2009 CDO. There-imposition was based on the lapse of the TLO, as well as on Philpao’s failure to comply withthe additional requirements imposed by the Regional Office in the May 5, 2010 Order. On topof these, the results of laboratory analyses of oil and grease samples taken at the facility onMay 14 and 26, and June 15, 2010 once again failed DENR standards. On the same date, the5 Notre Dame de Vie Institute is a group of Catholic consecrated lay people that has actively pursued the closure ofPhilpao Enterprise, after having seen the state of the facility and experienced the serious health effects caused byits emissions. 10
  • Office issued a NOV to Philpao for violation of RA 8749, or the Clean Air Act for exceedance ofthe standard for TSP.In July 2010, the MMT was constituted with the participation of local officials and the NDVTechnical Adviser. The MMT had three (3) meetings, which resulted in the signing of aMemorandum of Agreement and the approval of the granting of a TLO, in spite of objections byNDV. A fourth unplanned MMT meeting was held at the NDV Center on the first day ofmonitoring. Procedures for monitoring were discussed but were actually not observed. Therewere discussions on what parameters were critical for monitoring, an issue which has not beensettled to this date. The study started by DOH Region III, which was expected to identify thepollutants responsible for the negative health effects experienced, was unfortunately notfinished.On July 30, 2010, Philpao was granted another TLO for the undertaking of sampling activities,this time for thirty (30) days. In issuing the Order, PAB relied on the fact that Philpao had madeimprovements on the facility since the re-imposition of the CDO, that EMB Region III did notobject to Philpao’s request for a TLO, and that the MMT recommended lifting the CDO.6Despite the said improvements, communities in the areas surrounding the facility continued toexperience illnesses associated with tire pyrolysis emissions. Strong odor episodes occurredafter the stack testing on August 26, 2010 and continued until the CDO was again re-imposedon September 21-22, 2010. The NDV Technical Adviser attempted to document the healtheffects for the period through a questionnaire.Drastic yet Ineffective: Cancellation of Philpao ECCIn the meantime, the NDV request for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Review ofPhilpao’s ECC was granted. The EIA Review Committee (EIARC) found that PHILPAO failed toapply the best available technology to prevent the escape of volatile organic compounds andfugitive dust form its facility. Objectionable odor should not have been observed within the300-m radius if a closed loop system had been installed.On October 29, 2010, the EMB cancelled Philpao’s ECC. The cancellation considered thefindings of the EIARC, Philpao’s failure to consistently prevent the occurrence of odor nuisance,and the continued emission of black soot and fly ash from the facility, in spite of monitoringresults showing purported compliance with DENR Standards. The odor episodes showed thatPhilpao did not have the capacity to institute the necessary technology and other mitigatingmeasures to fulfill DENR’s requirements. The Order also cited Philpao’s failure to satisfactorilycomply with the four requirements cited in the May 5, 2010 EMB Order. The project remainingtechnically unacceptable, the Regional Office directed Philpao to “totally cease all its projectoperations in the project area” and to submit a Clean-up Plan to the Office.6 NDV, mindful of the health effects of the emissions from Philpao, objected to the TLO but was outvoted. 11
  • Denial of Application for a New ECCPhilpao applied for a new ECC in November 2010. Considering that this was a new application,Philpao should have submitted a complete set of documents, but the quality of its submissionwas again very poor. The Regional Office denied Philpao’s application in a letter dated February1, 2011. All of Philpao’s upgrades to its facility since the CDO was fully enforced were stillconsidered “inadequate to ensure that crude operations will not recur and full compliance with[sic+ regulations would be carried out.” The EIARC recommended measures which had to beimplemented and completed before an ECC could be granted Philpao, to wit: 1. Environmental Monitoring Plan; 2. Schematic diagram of the treatment process including the operating parameters and conditions; 3. Mass balance of the treatment process; 4. Installation of an industrial curtain enclosure; 5. Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP) and polycyclicaromatic hydrocarbons (Volatile Organic Carbon)7 (sic) tests on the ash for As, Ba, Cd, Cr, Pb, Hg and Se prior to disposal; 6. Complete prevention of oil leaks and exposed oil to prevent odor emission and soil contamination; 7. Assurance that the operating temperature be maintained at 400oC to 450oC; 8. Complete seclusion of rainwater run-off into oil and carbon black contaminated water; 9. Repair of roof/process building and proper channelling of drainage canal; 10. Employment of a qualified and experienced Pollution Control Officer and safety officer; 11. Active operation of Multipartite Monitoring Team; 12. Appropriate and adequate fencing of parameter; and 13. Implementation of a Close-Loop System, i.e, no wastewater shall be discharged to any receiving body of water in the area.In addition, the Regional Office in-house review team recommended the installation of aneffective and efficient system for unloading the carbon ash after pyrolysis, which had to betested and found acceptable prior to the issuance of an ECC to avoid recurrence of crudeoperations. It also recommended the completion of the process building. Considering theenormous cost of installing mitigating measures to ensure such compliance, and other relatedfactors, the Office expressed doubt as to Philpao’s ability to carry out the measures“consistently and dutifully.” The Office additionally cited the precautionary principle to denythe ECC application, and directed Philpao to implement an appropriate Abandonment Plan.7 VOC’s are distinct from PAH 12
  • Philpao Operation Without an ECCThe ECC cancellation and denial of its re-issuance were direct orders from EMB Region III,stated in no unclear terms and strongly founded on fact and law. Yet they remain unenforcedand ineffective, as Philpao resumed operations in the first week of February and continues todo so in willful violation of these orders. Investigations conducted by the Regional Office onFebruary 25 and 28, 2011 confirmed reports that Philpao still operated, as concerned residentscontinued to experience odor episodes emanating from the facility with associated healtheffects.On February 25, inspectors were refused entry into the Philpao compound, but smokeemanating from the back of the processor was documented by photograph. On March 7, 2011,the Office issued Philpao an Order to discontinue its operations, failure to do so being a groundfor suit under Presidential Decree No. 1586, or the Philippine Environmental Impact StatementSystem; the Clean Air Act; and the Clean Water Act. The Order was served on March 10, 2011and was received by Mr. Carlos Ang, owner of the facility. The inspectors noted that the plantwas not operational at that time and that the “chains and padlocks that were used during thetime of closure are (sic) still intact.”On March 28, 2011, the Regional Office sent letters to Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino Alvarado-Sy, Angat Municipal Mayor Gilberto Santos, and Pulong Yantok Brgy. Capt. Apolonio Marcelo,Jr., seeking their assistance in enforcing the CDO, ECC Cancellation, and Order to discontinueagainst Philpao. On March 30, 2011, the Office once again sent Philpao an Order requiring it tofully implement the March 7 Order, and to explain why no case should be filed against it forblatantly disregarding the PAB and EMB orders.NDV had an audience with Mayor Gilberto Santos of Angat on May 11, 2011 to seek hisassistance in enforcing the EMB Orders against Philpao, and to seek relief from the toxic fumesfrom the facility which by then had become stronger. After prolonged exposure to the fumes,affected individuals were experiencing more serious health effects. Together with this request,NDV submitted a picture taken by EMB inspectors, of smoke being emitted from the Philpaofacility. The request closed with the statement, “Kami ay dumudulog sa inyo dahil sa hindi nanamin matagalan ang epekto ng tire pyrolysis emission. Hinihiling namin sa munisipyo naalamin ang pinagmumulan nito. Nakakasiguro kami na marami pa sa mga kababayan natin angnaaapektuhan ng toxic emission ng tire pyrolysis.” (“We seek your help because we can nolonger stand the effects of tire pyrolysis emission. We ask the municipality to ascertain itssource. We are convinced that many other persons in our locality are currently affected by tirepyrolysis emission.”)On May 23, 2011, the municipality held a dialogue where NDV and Philpao representativeswere present. NDV reiterated its opposition to Philpao’s operation, because of the healtheffects on its members. Philpao presented arguments that had already been brought beforePAB and the EIARC, and which EMB had already considered when it denied the new ECC 13
  • application. Copies of the EMB Order had been provided the municipality and Philpao, whodenied receiving the copy. Because of Philpao’s continuing operations and the stronger odorepisodes, NDV submitted another letter to the municipality on May 31, 2011. It reiterated therequest for assistance in enforcing the closure orders against Philpao, citing the illnessesexperienced by NDV residents, and a letter from Department of Interior and Local Government(DILG) Secretary Jesse Robredo endorsing NDVs’ request for enforcement.The Mayor of Angat led a team at the Philpao facility on June 1, 2011 and affixed municipalseals on the thermal processor motors. This was in addition to the existing chains and padlocksalready installed by EMB personnel during the re-imposition of the CDO on September 21,2010. However, the odor episodes continued afterwards. Subsequent municipal inspections ofthe facility reported that it was not operational. Following a strong odor episode on June 16,2011, photos of the facility were taken, followed by many more whenever strong odor episodesoccurred. Numerous photos showing smoke emanating from the Philpao facility have beenaccumulated, some of which have been submitted to the municipality and the DILG. Figure 3documents smoke emanating from the Philpao facility, taken on dates when strong odorepisodes also occurred.On July 7, 2011, NDV sent another letter to Mayor Santos, complaining of the strong pyrolysisfumes and reiterating the health effects it caused. It included a request that a guard be postedat Philpao’s premises to prevent it from operating. The municipality took no action on thisrequest, while the odor episodes continued. At a meeting held at the municipality on July 22,2011, attended by NDV and DILG representatives, the municipality gave its assurance that itwas acting on NDV’s complaint. On August 4, 2011, Mayor Santos issued a Notice directingPhilpao to “dismantle its tire recycling facility and allied machinery/equipment being issued forits operation within thirty (30) days.” Otherwise, the Mayor’s office will be constrained toconduct the dismantling operation, at the expense of Philpao. However, the notice was silenton Philpao’s continuous illegal operation, and the odor episodes even increased to unbearablelevels. Odor levels only went down on the days when the facility was inspected.At an August 10, 2011 audience with Bulacan Gov. Alvarado-Sy, NDV discussed it concerns withProvincial Administrator Jim C. Valerio. Mr. Valerio informed them of the Governor’s programto curb pollution in provincial industries and assured them of assistance.The 30-day period indicated in Mayor Santos’ Notice to Dismantle lapsed, with no relief fromthe toxic fumes. It was only on September 14, 2011 that the Mayor, with a party of 60policemen, went to the Philpao facility to dismantle its equipment and machineries. Accordingto a report by PCI Arwin M. Tadeo, Angat Chief of Police, Philpao equipment were partiallydismantled and two of its dynamos confiscated.88 The team removed the motors that turned the thermal processors. These were the same motors that the EMBchained, padlocked, and sealed when it re-imposed the CDO on September 21, 2010. Subsequent inspectionsreported that the seals were intact, yet Philpao’s smoke stacks has continued to emit smoke in the past months. 14
  • Odor from emissions from the Philpao facility continue to this day, albeit at a lower level afterthe dismantling. As the days pass, however, the odor is again getting stronger. Philpao’sindifference to official sanctions reflects an exceptional level of contempt for the law, and evenfor human health and the environment. It is almost beyond comprehension how a company,owned and operated by a non-Filipino citizen, can continue to defy the law with such impunity.Closing down Philpao’s facility calls for an exceptional exercise of political will. There is no otherway around the issue than for concerned government agencies and officials to once and for allenforce the law and their own orders. In the meantime, the affected communities await theend of Philpao’s foul operations with bated breath. 15
  • ReferencesAsiaPulse News (February 11, 2003). Philippines Launches New Program on Tires.Basa, M. (August 18, 2010). Letter to Manager/Owner of Philpao Enterprises.CIWMB (2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009). Five-Year Plan for the Waste Tire RecyclingManagement Program. Sacramento: California Integrated Waste Management Board.Integrated Waste Management Board Legislative and External Affairs Office (1998). OverviewReport on California’s Waste Tire Program. California Integrated Waste Management Board.Jorge, E. (October 26, 2009). Letter to Mayor Leonardo Santos.Klean Industries (November 5, 2010). Accessed on November 13, 2010 at Klean News,www.kleanindustries.com.National Solid Waste Management Commission (September 27, 2006). Accessed on October 12,2011 at http://emb.gov.ph/nswmc/PDF/alt/rec/recycling practices.PDF.Nova Scotia Interdepartmental Committee on Used Tire Management (2008). Report to theMinister of Environment. Canada.Ocate, A. (2010). Report on Used Tire Recycling Facility in Angat, Bulacan. Blacksmith Institute.Reismann, J. L., & Lemieux, P. M. (October 1997). Air Emissions from Scrap Tire Combustion.USA: US Environmental Protection Agency.Santos, F. L., Pabroa, P. C., Bucal, C. G., & Bautista, A. T. (2011). Establishing the Link betweenHealth Effects and Tire Pyrolysis Emissions through XRF Spectrometry ofParticulate Matter inthe 2.5 Range. 26th Philippine Chemistry Congress, Cebu City. 16
  • Figure 2. Environmental damage caused by tire pyrolysis. Figure 1. Environmental damage caused by tire pyrolysis. Row 1, L to R: Black smoke emanating from a stack of facility, fence of facility and oily effluent from a discharge pipe, field contaminated with oil on the Southern side; Row 2, L to R: Abandoned pyrolysis char along a cliff, spilled pyrolysis char from the damaged sacks, creek contaminated with oily effluents; Row 3, L to R: Pyrolysis char that had fallen down the cliff to a compound 700 m. away, leaves in the same compound coated with a black oily material, pyrolysis char dumped beside a poultry and along a creek near the Talbak bridge in Angat; Row 4, L to R: Rice field on the other side of the bridge, new pile of pyrolysis char along the rice field shown in previous picture; Row 5: Leaves of nearby trees which have turned yellow because of fumes from Philpao. 17
  • Figure 3. Pictures of Philpao Enterprises facility, many of which were taken during the MMTmonitoring in August 2010. Philpao was making repeated requests to resume operation at this time.Figure 2. Pictures of Philpao Enterprises facility, many of which were taken during the MMT monitoring inAugust 2010. Philpao was making repeated requests to resume operation at this time.First row, from L to R: The gate to the facility, piles of scrap tires and the thermal processor; Second row from L to R:Firewood used as fuel, the condenser pond, the reservoir for the oil product; Third row from L to R: Condenser with alayer of ash on the water, the oil water separator covered only with a GI sheet; fugitive emissions from the back of thethermal processor; Fourth row fro L to R: Pyrolysis char after slurry from the processor has drained, sacks of pyrolysischar, oily water flowing through an open canal. 18
  • Fig. 3 a – June 16, 2011, 5:02 PM Fig. 3 b – June 26, 2011, 2:31 PM Fig. 3 c – June 30, 2011 Fig. 3 d – July 1, 2011 Fig. 3 f – July 24, 2011 Fig. 3 e – July 10, 2011 Fig. 3 h –October 1, 2011- Smoke, emitted Fig. 3 g –August 11, 2011 at various points, covers a wide areaFig. 3 i –October 4, 2011- The characteristic of the smoke is similar to that of October 1.Figure 3. Documentation of smoke emissions from Philpao Enterprises which coincided with odorepisodes 19