QC junk shops must clean up act
The Quezon City government has warned 73 junk shops to comply with national and local laws or face closure after these were discovered to be operating in violation of several ordinances.
Remelito Hirang, the inspection and enforcement chief of the city’s Environmental Protection and Waste Management Department (EPWMD), said the crackdown was also part of efforts to transform the image of Payatas, an area that once hosted a sprawling dump, where most of the violators were located.
The city has over 680 registered junk shops. Of the 73 cited for violations, 60 are in Payatas.
According to Hirang, the warning was issued after a series of dialogues were held over the years between the junk shop owners and EPWMD, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, and Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
Recent inspections showed that despite the talks, the 73 shops continued to ignore local laws, particularly the 2006 Junk Shop Regulation Ordinance and the city’s environmental code passed in 2014.
“They are actually not operating as junk shops which should be engaged [only] in buying, selling and trading,” Hirang told the Inquirer. They “were also involved in sorting, and illegal storage (of waste materials),” he added.
They were therefore practically serving as dumps, posing environmental hazards to the community, he explained.
Hirang said it was high time these shops got organized.
“You can say that we are very, very late but we also considered their significance in the overall system,” he said. “They have contributed [a lot to] solid waste management because of their waste diversion efforts and recycling activities.”
He also cited changes in Payatas where more residential areas were being built despite its proximity to the now-closed sanitary landfill.
“We can say that their operations somehow affect the promotion of the economic potential of [Payatas]. When they say Payatas, the connotation is a dump. This discourages investments,” he said.
Local officials have been working with residents to find alternative sources of income and provide livelihood training to those who will be affected by changes in the area, he said.
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