Some residents of Batangas City have turned to social media to express their concern over air pollution allegedly coming from the smokestack of a nearby resin production plant on Thursday.
Batangas City Councilor Kristine Balmes said that it has been two weeks since they noticed a big flame coming from the the JG Summit Petrochemical Corp. (JGSPC) plant.
She said the local commu-nity is already alarmed by the emissions.
“Napansin naming noong nag shut down sila on their own two weeks ago, nagsimula yung apoy at usok. Siguro hinahanap ang problema sa machine so malakas ang buga kasi inuubos ang laman ng machine. (We noticed the emissions of fire and smoke when the company shut down its operations two weeks ago. Maybe they were looking for the problem in their machine. There may have been more emissions lately because they were trying to consume the contents of the machine),” Balmes said.
Balmes added that last Thursday she was told by JGSPC personnel that the start up operations conducted by the company was successful.
“Pero noong nakita ko yung mga post sa Facebook, malakas pa rin ang apoy (But I saw the posts on Facebook, you can still see the big flame [from the smokestack]),” Balmes said.
According to the JGSPC website, the company is a core subsidiary of JG Summit Holdings, Inc.
The Manila Times tried to get a statement from the offices of JG Summit in Batangas and Manila but to no avail.
Also from the same website, the Batangas plant produces various grades of polyethylene and polypropylene resins which are marketed under the brand called Evalene, which is used for plastic items including the manufacture of large drums, bleach bottles, shopping bags, films, adhesive tapes, pharmaceutical, and food packaging materials.
There are between 60 and 80 families residing in Sitio Soriano, where the plant is located, who are directly affected by the emissions.
Gerry Aluan, a resident of Sitio Soriano, said the heat from the flame emitted from the company is too much to bear. He added that there is also foul odor coming from the same source.
He said that, given a chance, they prefer to sell their lands to JG Summit so that they can relocate to a better place, but to a price that is acceptable to all.
The resin plant is located in a village along the coastline adjacent to the Verde Island Passage, which is rich in marine life.
In June last year, the operation of the Gokongwei-led plant was also put on hold after their system malfunctioned during the commissioning process, causing the emission of dark smoke and fire for about three days.
WITH KRISTYN NIKA LAZO