Bunker oil from closed power plant eyed as cause of fishkill

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    LIMAY, Bataan- Bunker oil allegedly coming from the defunct Bataan Thermal Power Plant (BTPP) was suspected as the cause of the fishkill Wednesday in the portion of Manila Bay in a fishing village here.

    Fishermen and residents reportedly found many kinds of small fish dead and floating in the sea near Kitang III in Barangay Luz-Kitang II.

    The village sits adjacent to the BTPP. They pointed to traces of oil at the mouth of a big pipe allegedly coming from the compound of the closed and inoperational thermal plant, in the canal towards the sea and some stuck on grasses as the culprit.

    “Tiyak sa planta galing ang langis,” barangay chairman Oscar Peralta of Luz-Kitang II said, adding that he went to the area and saw the problem personally. He said that he was informed by the leader of fishermen that their livelihood was affected by the oil spill. “Ang lambat nila nadidikitan daw ng aspalto at nagkakamatay ang mga isda.

    Sana matulungan ang maliliit na magdaragat para makapangisda sila ng maayos,” Peralta said. The village head said fishermen feared that the fish they might catch are affected with toxin and dangerous to eat.

    He said that in his village alone, 200 families of fishermen are affected. “Saan sila kukuha ng ikabubuhay ngayon?,” he said. Village councilman Francis Abelojar, chair of the committee on agriculture and fisheries, said they saw many dead fish floating.

    They collected some fish and oil samples for laboratory test by the municipal agriculture office. “Nananawagan kami sa concerned government agency na bigyan kami ng karapatan na makapasok sa planta ng National Power Corp. upang matukoy kung anong kemikal ang dumadaloy at malaman kung may toxin ito,” Abelojar said.

    “Nag-aalaala ang mga mangingisda na baka may lason ang isdang mahuli nila at makain,” the kagawad said.

    A team from the Philippine Coast Guard in Lamao, Limay tried to persuade security guards to let them enter the compound of the power plant to see the source of the oil but were denied access. “Kahit kami hindi makapasok diyan kaya hindi namin alam kung ano nangyayari sa loob,” the barangay chairman said.

    Villager Marcelino Ebnace collected some floating fish. “Inihaw ko para ipakain sa aso ko ngunit ayaw kainin,” he said, adding that it was the first time that a fishkill happened in the place. “Hindi ko alam kung ano talaga dahilan ng pagkamatay ng mga isda pero malamang dahil sa langis.”

    “Dati steam o mainit na tubig ang umaagos sa imburnal na ‘yan pero ngayon langis na,” resident Rogelio Aguas noted. Maria Rosas, another villager, was worried about their livelihood. “Nanghuhuli kami ng alimasag diyan kaya lang baka may lason na. Sana hindi na maulit ang ganyan at matulungan kami sa problema,” the woman who depends on fishing to rear her six children said.

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