Ammonia leak torments Polomolok folk

By Joseph Jubelag

POLOMOLOK, South Cotabato – At least 20 people were hospitalized after an ammonia chemical leakage was reported at the fruit processing plant of Dole Phils. in Barangay Cannery here.

Polomolok, South Cotabato Map (Wikipedia/ Manila Bulletin) Polomolok, South Cotabato Map (Wikipedia/ Manila Bulletin)

Rodylyn Atimonan, municipal disaster risk reduction and management officer, said at least 20 people were hospitalized after a suspected leakage of ammonia chemical from the Dole Phils. processing plant broke out after midnight last Monday.

He said some 20,00 residents living near the plant were immediately evacuated after they suffered dizziness, vomiting and collapse due to stinking odor brought about by the chemical leakage.

“Even our responders could not endure the odorous smell of the chemical,” Atimonan said.

Polomolok Mayor Honey Matti-Lumayag has ordered an investigation into the incident to determine the cause of the chemical leak at the Dole’s plant.

She also wanted to find out if the company strictly followed the safety standards in the workplace why such an accident occurred.

Atimonan said that such chemical leakage was the first incident since the Dole fruit processing plant started operating in the area about 30 years ago.
In a statement, the management of Dole Phils. promised to shoulder the medical expenses of the affected victims.