Glenn Defense dumped hazardous wastes exceed DENR’s limit
“WE strongly condemn the irresponsible dumping of hazardous and toxic waste in Subic Bay by US Navy contractor Glenn Defense Marine Asia. What they dumped on our waters is highly dangerous and can cause possible death and harm to humans, according to SBMA’s own laboratory analysis,” said Dr. Giovanni Tapang, chairperson of the scientist group AGHAM-Advocates of Science and Technology for the people and vice-president of Kalikasan.
The SBMA has earlier accused operators of MT Glenn Guardian of intentionally dumping tons of toxic and hazardous wastes to the waters of Subic Bay. The tanker owner asserts their right under the US-RP Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) that the company and its operation in Philippine territory is not covered by Philippine laws thus cannot be held accountable by the Philippine government and its agencies. SBMA later said that the wastes are not toxic materials.
“According to the said laboratory report by Subic Water, the samples that the SBMA took show effluent levels that surpass the DENR standards by over 700 times”, he added.
Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) in one sample reached 20,500 milligrams per liter (mg/L), which is 638 times the DENR DAO 35 standards (limit is 30 mg/L). BOD is the amount of dissolved oxygen that is needed to breakdown organic components in the sample such as human fecal material and the like. Such a high BOD would result in a rapid depletion of the oxygen in the waters where such waste is dumped and would cause death of the organisms in the surrounding area.
For the same sample, the chemical oxygen demand (COD), a similar measure of organic compounds in the sample, is 43,982 mg/L, which is 733 times the DENR DAO 35 standards (limit is 60 mg/L).
The amount of oil and grease (O&G) in the sample is 9,953 mg/L is 1,990 times the limit of 5 mg/L. This amount of oil and grease would need treatment before any dumping. The total suspended solids (TSS) in the sample is also 463 times (at 23,160 mg/L) the limit of 50 mg/L which gave the sample a viscous black quality.
“We challenge the officers of the US Navy, Malacanang, SBMA and the officials of Glenn Defense to swim in such a sample if they continue to assert that these are not dangerous and toxic materials,” Tapang said.
“The sewage material dumped by Glenn Defense could also contain pathogens that can cause disease and may also concentrate endocrine disrupting chemicals in the water that can later affect human health,” warned Tapang.
“The case of the waste dumping of Glenn Defense Marine Asia is a clear example of how the so-called visits of US military war ships under the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) endanger us all. Subic Bay, and the whole of the country, is now a virtual large military base where the US military can have their ships dock for repair and supplies, throw their wastes as well as rest and recreation for their men,” Tapang pointed out.
“The US left toxic wastes in Clark and Subic when they left in 1991. They have not yet cleaned this up and has now again caused another dumping of dangerous wastes on our shores,” he added.
“President Aquino should order the urgent filing of a criminal case, the arrest the officers and officials of MT Glenn Guardian, and confiscate their assets in the Philippines and call for the abrogation of the VFA,” Tapang said.
“The root causes of these dangerous wastes are the US military exercises being continually held in the country and the unhampered visits of the US warships on our shores. Not only does it violate our national sovereignty, it is a direct threat to our environmental safety,” said Tapang.
Based on the website information of Glenn Defense, retired and former Chief of Philippine Navy Mateo Mayuga is one of the top rank officials of company and heads its operation here in the Philippines. Glenn Defense is regularly servicing the US Naval forces. In 2007 and 2009, Glenn Defense vessels operated in the Philippines when it serviced military ships USS Blue Ridge and USS George Washington CSG, respectively.