DENR closes Bataan dump
LIMAY, BATAAN — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Wednesday ordered the shutdown of an open dump here after the local government allegedly failed to comply with the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act (Republic Act No. 9003).
Environment officials who inspected the dump said the waste pile, which had reached as high as a two-story building, was a “Smokey Mountain” in the making. The dump sits on a 7-hectare property owned by the Limay government at Sitio Mamala in Barangay St. Francis here.
RA 9003 prohibits the establishment and operation of open dumps. It mandated that within three years after its effectivity, all local governments should convert its open dumps into controlled dumps. The law, however, was passed way back in 2001.
Manila Bay cleanup
A two-page order dated May 7 directed Limay Mayor Lilvir Roque to immediately cease and desist from operating the dump. The order was served the following day to Roque’s office by local and regional DENR officials.
Benny Antiporda, environment undersecretary for solid waste management and local government concerns, summoned the mayor, along with municipal councilors led by Vice Mayor Robert Arvin Roque, to the DENR office in Quezon City to present their immediate plans for action for the closure and rehabilitation of the dump.
The dump is located near a creek that flows to Mamala River, which feeds into Manila Bay. Environment officials raised fears that leachate from rotting garbage may leak to the bodies of water.
“Our efforts to clean Manila Bay would only go to waste if this dump continues to operate,” Antiporda said.
In 2015, the same dump was ordered closed by the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
Antiporda said the Limay municipality had entered into a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Metro Clark Waste Management Corp. to dispose of its garbage at the sanitary landfill in Capas town, Tarlac province.
But he said the DENR’s initial investigation showed the local government had failed to comply with the agreement and continued to defy environment laws.
Antiporda also said the dump had no municipal recovery facility to process and segregate waste, causing the garbage to pile up.
“Manila Bay is near the area … there are lots of garbage. This is another Smokey Mountain in the making,” he told reporters during the site inspection, referring to a landfill once located in Tondo, Manila.
The dump does not also have a garbage effluent treatment and other important facilities, Antiporda said.
“The creek has turned into a canal. They cannot explain where the water goes. In our theory, it ends up in the river,” he said.
The local government has been following the DENR’s safe closure plan, Roque said, adding that the dump is “under rehabilitation.”
He said it was working to have their garbage removed from the dump after it was ordered by the Environmental Management Bureau in the region to stop its operations before the end of May. —REPORTS FROM GREG REFRACCION AND JHESSET O. ENANO
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