Capas, Tarlac—The local government has suspended the operations of the waste processing plant of Clean Leaf International Corporation here due to the health risk it poses to residents in its surrounding communities at Barangay Cutcut ll here and in nearby Bgy. Anupul in Bamban town.
\“When i received the complaints from residents in September, I quickly called the management of Clean Leaf and directed them to shut down its operations due to mounting complaints of residents there,” said Mayor Rey Catacutan.
He said Clean Leaf ceased its operations since October and it would be “impossible” for residents to experience foul smells from the plant.
The suspension order was covered by Executive Order 97 Series of 2020 issued by the mayor three months ago.
The company has not responded to the report, issued a statement, or answered queries from the Standard as of press time.
In their complaints posted on social media, one resident stated that Clean Leaf operates at midnight up to 3 a.m. It releases black smoke from its chamber only during the wee hours to avoid being detected by the local authorities.
“We have been experiencing dizziness, stomachache and headache due to noxious odor coming from the lagoon and smoke being emitted by Clean Leaf,” stated in a post of another resident, whose home is adjacent to the hazardous waste processing plant.
Catacutan said the Capas LGU environmental officer conducted an inspection at Clean Leaf as early as September, or shortly after the mayor received complaints against the waste treatment plant.
A technical investigation team was also sent to Clean Leaf to determine its waste treatment procedure of hazardous substances being dumped inside the plant
“I ordered the waste processing plant management to cover the lagoon with sand to trap the fumes being emitted from it,” said Catacutan, while flashing the suspension order he issued to Clean Leaf last September in a press briefing.
The local chief executive said it is impossible for residents at Cutcut to experience foul smell as the plant’s exhaust chamber is more than 40 feet high and the smoke released to the air is already processed and filtered.
“It’s impossible for them to inhale foul smell. Ang taas ng stack and the smoke that is being released are already processed,” Catacutan pointed out.
He added that the lagoon and chamber of Clean Leaf is situated some 1.5 kilometers away from residential areas.
“It’s hard to believe, but nevertheless i have ordered the suspension of its operations,” he said.
Catacutan noted that Clean Leaf was to able secure a permit from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for the construction and expansion of its sanitary landfill within the waste processing facility.
Three waste processing plants are operating within sitio Kalangitan, including Clean Leaf.
“Anyone is open to do waste processing business in my town as long as they comply with the necessary permits from concerned government agencies,” said Catacutan.