PGENRO PGENRO collects water in Isla Verde for monitoring. Photo courtesy of Batangas PIO

PGENRO conducts water sampling, monitoring in Verde Island Passage

March 25, 2023 Jojo C. Magsombol 396 views

BATANGAS CAPITOL – Among the responses of the Provincial Government of Batangas to the entry of an oil spill from the sunken MT Princess Empress along the coastal areas of the province, particularly in the Verde Island Passage, the Provincial Government Environment and Natural Resources Office (PGENRO), through the Batangas Environment Laboratory (BEL), along with the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and other government agencies immediately conducted water sampling and monitoring in the barangays in Isla Verde that reported sightings of oil slicks last March 20.

The areas affected are the barangays of San Agapito, San Agustin Kanluran, and San Antonio, Isla Verde, Batangas City.

Three water samples were taken to assess the water quality or level of oil contamination in that part of Isla Verde’s waters.

PGENRO-BEL has designated sampling stations in front of Monte Maria, in front of the Surface Interval Resort, and on the beach of San Agapito.

No oil was observed in the water while taking water samples.

Although there was no smell associated with the oil spill in the area, “oil slicks” were found on the shore stuck to the sand and rocks.

Also, the PCG, Bantay Dagat members and officials, and residents of the barangays mentioned helped each other to retrieve the rocks and sand contaminated with oil.

There are five buckets (16L capacity) containing contaminated rock and sand and one bucket with only mixed oil and water.

Contaminated water, rocks, and sand will temporarily remain in the custody of the PCG until it is disposed of in a proper landfill or DENR-accredited Hazardous Waste Treatment Facility.

The analysis of water samples will be conducted within a week.

If the result of the analysis is that the water is contaminated with oil, PGENRO BEL will carry out water sampling again with the help of the PCG and the people of Isla Verde. However, the result will be sent immediately to the City Government of Batangas, barangay officials, and other concerned agencies for immediate action.