Manila North Cemetery Crematorium Stops Operation Pending Compliance with Environmental Requirements (Manila Commits to Make Crematorium Compliant with Clean Air Act and Other Regulations)

The EcoWaste Coalition, a waste and pollution watch group,  lauded the decision by Manila’s health authorities to stop the operation of the Manila North Cemetery Crematorium pending the implementation of required interventions to ensure compliance with Republic Act 8749 or the Clean Air Act.

“The suspension of the crematorium’s activities will give the Manila City Government the opportunity to legalize its operation and undertake essential pollution mitigation measures to meet key environmental regulations,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

“We will keenly watch how Manila will mitigate the pollution from the city’s crematory to protect the public health and environment, especially in the adjacent communities” she added.   

At the Technical Conference held yesterday, November 29, at the office of the Environmental Management Bureau – National Capital Region (EMB-NCR) with the complainant EcoWaste Coalition and respondent Manila North Cemetery Crematorium in attendance, Clemente San Gabriel, Jr., Chief of the Sanitation Division of the  Manila City Health Department committed to undertake a six-point set of corrective measures.

These corrective measures include the following:

1.Stop the crematorium’s operation until such time the necessary repair is completed to control  emissions to acceptable levels.
2. Renew the Permit to Operate (PO), and comply with the submission of quarterly Self-Monitoring Reports (SMRs).
3. Improve the smoke stack to meet the required standards within 45 days.
4. Assign an accredited Pollution Control Officer.
5. Register as a Hazardous Waste Generator.
6. File a reply to the Notice of Violation (NOV) within 10 days.

The EcoWaste Coalition had earlier lodged a complaint at the EMB-NCR against the facility for emitting black smoke and for operating without a valid PO. 

Responding to the group’s complaint, the EMB-NCR personnel conducted a field investigation on November 7, which provided the basis for an NOV issued by Regional Director Vizminda Osorio on November 25.

The NOV, among other things, cited the facility’s violation of R.A. 8749, specifically for operating an air pollution source installation without a valid PO that expired on May 13, 2014, for not submitting the required SMRs since 2009 and for emitting black smoke into the surroundings.

The crematorium was also found in breach of DENR Administrative Order 2013-22 for failing to register as a hazardous waste generator since the facility generates mercury-containing fluorescent lamp waste.   
Pursuant to R.A. 8479 and the DENR Department Administrative Order 2013-22, offenders shall be fined in the amount of P10,000 but not more than P100,000 for every count of violation, the NOV stated.

“It’s most important for the Manila crematorium to clean up its acts considering the proposal to establish more state-funded crematories nationwide. Other local government units will surely look up to this facility as a good or bad example,” Lucero said.

House Bill 135 filed by Ako Bicol Party-List Representative Rodel Batocabe, along with Representatives Christopher Co and Alfredo Garbin, Jr., seeks the establishment of more crematorium facilities in the country to address the prohibitive cost of customary burial.