EMB 7 says open dumps still used in 31 of Cebu’s 52 towns and cities

September 7, 2010 10:09 am 

CEBU CITY, Sept. 7 – The Environmental Management Bureau’s Solid Waste Management Division has reported that out of 52 towns and cities in Cebu Province, 31 continue to operate open dumpsites, while 16 maintain controlled dumpsites.

Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 prohibits the use of open and controlled dumpsites.

Section 37 of the law states: “No open dumps shall be established and operated, nor any practice or disposal of solid waste by any person, including LGUs (local government units), which constitutes the use of open dumps for solid wastes, be allowed after the effectivity of the act.”

The LGUs were given three years after the effectivity of the law to convert open dumps into controlled dumps. But five years following the effectivity of the law, or 2005, controlled dumpsites were no longer allowed.

The report of division coordinator Amancio Dongcoy stated that only five cities and towns operate sanitary landfills. These are: Asturias, Cebu City, Dalaguete, Talisay City and Toledo City.

Dongcoy said the dumpsite in Moalboal town has been closed.

He also noted that the Mandaue City open dumpsite in Barangay Umapad was closed last year.

”That’s a dismal 10 percent compliance,” said lawyer Benjamin Cabrido Jr., a Global Legal Action on Climate Change (GLACC) and Philippine Earth Justice Center Inc. (PEJC) member.

"As the lead agency, officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) should explain why they should not be held administratively liable for gross negligence in the law’s implementation,” he said.

Lawyer and PEJC co-founder Gloria Estenzo-Ramos raised doubts whether the specifications for setting and operating sanitary landfills are followed.

”I’m not sure if there are LGUs in Cebu that have sanitary landfills that comply with the standards of RA 9003. The DENR report on that is misleading Inayawan is an open dumpsite. Why is it in the category of a sanitary landfill?” she said.

"For the LGUs, when are you going to live up to the mandates of protecting the health of our people and our environment? Please prioritize them,” she said.

Ramos suggested that local development councils be organized and stakeholders be encouraged to share their views and participate in the decision-making process.

The PEJC, in a letter dated Aug. 11, inquired with EMB 7 Director Alan Arranguez on the status of dumpsites in Cebu Province.

Arranguez, in his written reply, said the agency has conducted orientation lectures and workshops on procedures for the closure of dumpsites, as well as monitoring and formulating recommendations that are forwarded to the DENR central office.

He added that EMB 7 does not have regulatory powers over local chief executives. (PNA)

LDV/EB/re

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