DENR eyes landfill for each congressional district
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is planning to build at least one sanitary landfill for each congressional district over the next two years in a bid to implement the solid waste management law and finally address concerns over open dumpsites across the country.
“We are looking at 248 clustered sanitary landfills, or one per congressional district, so that there can be more areas where the wastes can be dumped,” said Environment Undersecretary Benny Antiporda, who oversees local government units and solid waste management for the agency, told journalists last week.
Republic Act No. 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, already requires that all local government units build their own sanitary landfills but many have still not complied with the law over the past two decades, prompting the DENR to file criminal and administrative charges against local officials who allowed the operation of open dumps in their jurisdictions.
“We really need to have an endgame when it comes to waste management, because what is happening now is that the trash is simply being transferred from one place to another, [leading to the] problem of illegal open dumpsites,” Antiporda said.
Thus, the government has allotted a total of $1 billion for the purpose this year with most of the funding designated for projects that deal with recyclables. For 2021, the environment agency is looking at a budget of P7.2 billion for solid waste management.
The environment official, however, noted that sanitary landfills only address the garbage problem temporarily because a real solution should also include zero-waste technologies and waste-to-energy facilities.
Last year, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu issued an administrative order that outlines the guidelines for the establishment and operation of such facilities, which can convert nonrecyclable waste materials into energy, such as heat and electricity but environmental groups cautioned against such projects, saying that incineration facilities are costly and unsustainable.