Tondo residents and environmental activist group Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE) held a protest in front of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Feb. 19, demanding the closure of RockEnergy coal stockpiling operation in Port Area, Tondo Manila City.
RockEnergy International a company that ventures in bulk logistics services, coal exploration, and mineral supply distribution. In 2013 it started to stockpile coal in an open 2-hectare area adjacent to a residential community of Happyland in Bgy. 105 Tondo. The area has a capacity to stocking capacity of 10,000 metric tons or equivalent of 200,000 sacks of rice.
Clemente Bautista of Kalikasan PNE said, “The DENR is turning a blind eye on the deteriorating health condition of Tondo residents because of the noxious fumes and harmful dust emitted by coal stockpile in the area,” said
The City of Manila has issued a closure order to RockEnergy but it continues its operation after the DENR granted it a permit to operate. Clemente said the DENR and the Environmental Management Bureau failed to see any violations from RockEnergy.
Clemente said several scientific studies show the coal dust contains heavy metals and toxic elements that cause range of diseases and health problems like asthma and lung cancer. Coal contains toxic heavy metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, as well as radioactive isotopes like thorium and strontium.
Ricky Lozada, chairperson of the Alyansa ng mga Residente ng Happyland Laban sa Coal, lamented that many children and even adults suffer from respiratory diseases since the start of RockEnergy operations.