EMB shuts trash dumps in Pampanga
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO— Mayor Edwin Santiago has disputed an Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) report that this Pampanga capital has been operating an open dump in Barangay Lara here in violation of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 (Republic Act No. 9003).
Santiago said the Lara facility was a transfer station for garbage hauled to Kalangitan landfill, which is operated by the Metro Clark Waste Management Corp. (MCWMC) in Capas town, Tarlac province.
He said the Lara station could not be closed, despite a shutdown order issued by the EMB on Tuesday. The agency also closed a dump at Barangay Maliwalo in Bacolor town and two others in the villages of San Jose Mitla and San Jose Mitla Dos in Porac town.
The San Fernando government has a contract with the landfill operator, according to Rufo Colayco, MCWMC president.
“[The city government] owes us P23 million but we never stopped getting their waste,” Colayco said in a telephone interview.
Bacolor Mayor Diman Datu and Porac Mayor Jing Capil, both first-term mayors, asked the EMB for time and assistance in order to comply with RA 9003.
The Bacolor government is relocating its materials recovery facility (MRF) from Barangay Maliwalo to Barangay Talba, according to Rio Villapeña, municipal environment and natural resources officer.
He said the EMB had basis to order a closure, adding that garbage had occupied 200 square meters of the 500-sq-m site.
Bacolor has paid MCWMC P1.7 million for the use of the landfill from January to September, Villapeña told the Inquirer.
The local government has earmarked P2.5 million to start the MRF in Talba.
A statement from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said an agency inspection team found plastics, diapers, Styrofoam food containers and packaging materials, and even hospital waste in the Pampanga dumps it ordered closed.
“Poor waste management [in these dumps] pose serious threats not just to the environment, but also to public health. That is why we are taking our messaging [as to how we] uphold proper waste disposal to a higher level to encourage communities, especially our local government units, to not make open fields as repository areas for waste,” the DENR said.
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