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DENR probes alleged air pollution in San Simon

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Region 3 (DENR-3) has launched an investigation into the alleged air pollution caused by steel smelting plants in San Simon town in Pampanga province.

According to a Punto Central Luzon report, DENR-3 Director Wilson Trajeco signed Mission Order No. 3 dated January 24 instructing a team from the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) and one representative from the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office to conduct site inspection on two steel plants in Barangay San Isidro.

The EMB personnel were tasked to conduct air sampling and wastewater sampling tests on Wan Chiong Steel Corporation and Melters Steel Corporation, the report said.

The order came in the heels of reported massive air pollution being spewed on a daily basis for the past weeks by the steel factories, the Punto report added.

According to Trajeco, he gave the order “in the interest of the service and in view of the strict implementation of RA 8749 otherwise known as the Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999.”

Under the order, the team shall validate the veracity of information stated in the incident report of Wan Chiong Steel Corp. dated January 12, 2023 as regards the maintenance / repair of their corresponding air pollution control devices and the presence of fugitive emissions, the report added.

The team shall report the findings, and observations within 72 hours after the investigation and communicate the proceedings and summary of findings to DENR-3 and PENRO Pampanga in accordance with the existing laws, rules and regulations, it said.