Benguet town complains about Baguio garbage

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12:06 AM July 14th, 2013

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July 14th, 2013 12:06 AM

BAGUIO CITY—Another Benguet town has complained about Baguio’s garbage.

Mayor Edna Tabanda of La Trinidad town, Benguet province, on Friday asked the city government to stop developing a waste sorting facility in her town until the local neighborhood is consulted.

The city’s general services office began transferring its sorting area for garbage to Sitio Lamtang in La Trinidad from its original location in Barangay Irisan here after teachers and students of  Philippine Science High School (PSHS) complained about stench and filth from an abandoned limekiln.

Baguio garbage collectors sort out up to 120 metric tons of garbage a day in this way station before these are shipped to a commercial landfill in Urdaneta City.

Tabanda said her office was not consulted about the move. She said the city government also failed to secure the building, sanitation and health permits needed to move trash to La Trinidad.

But when asked, Tabanda said her office did  not plan to file an environmental complaint.

“We will allow Baguio to explain the nature of its activities [in Lamtang] and conduct consultations,” she said. “If [the way station] would have a negative impact on the environment and the nearest La Trinidad community, then it has to stop. If there is no negative impact, then it will get our approval if that’s how we can help Baguio City.”

Baguio was slapped with a writ of kalikasan in 2012 when its decommissioned dump in Barangay Irisan collapsed in 2011, killing six people and polluting the waterways of Tuba, Benguet.

The writ was lifted after Baguio promised to shut down, rehabilitate and convert the dump into an ecological park and to secure a new waste facility.

Recently, the city government asked for government clearance to pursue a waste-to-energy system, using garbage as fuel to generate electricity, said Romeo Concio, general services officer.

But Baguio would still spend up to P200 million to haul garbage to a commercial landfill,  while the system, which required a way station, was under development.

The area where the way station was put up, however, had been claimed as an educational reservation.

Last year,  PSHS began constructing its Cordillera campus 300 meters from the way station, apparently with the permission of the city government.

When  PSHS opened in June, teachers and students wore face masks to protest the presence of the way station. Vincent Cabreza, Inquirer Northern Luzon

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