In Quezon, towns start paving way for sanitary landfills
LUCENA CITY—Local government units in Quezon have been trying to comply with a law that requires them to establish sanitary landfills, according to officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Essie Verzo, the senior environmental management specialist and head of the DENR Environment Management Bureau in Quezon, said the towns of Mauban, Infanta and General Nakar are now operating sanitary landfills in compliance with the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 (Republic Act No. 9003).
The towns of Pagbilao and Gumaca have been issued environmental compliance certificates (ECC) to build sanitary landfills. The towns of Unisan, Plaridel and Sampaloc have applied for ECCs.
According to Verzo, 15 of the province’s 39 municipalities have turned open dumps into “controlled waste dumps.” Others, she said, “are now preparing the groundwork” for sanitary landfills.
Ibarra Quinto, officer in charge of Lucena City solid waste management division, said the city government would soon operate a 2-hectare sanitary landfill near its controlled dump in Barangay Kanlurang Mayao.
“Hopefully, we will start operating the sanitary landfill this year or early next year. We’re now looking for funds,” Quinto said.
Quoting DENR estimates, he said a hectare of the sanitary landfill would cost at least P10 million to build.
The DENR requires Lucena to build a landfill of at least 5 to 7 hectares to accommodate its average daily trash production of 56 tons.
Quinto said the city could use technology to reduce its trash volume to make up for lack of space for a full-size sanitary landfill.
Verzo said a positive trend among local governments in the province is awareness on the environmental harm brought by plastics.
Several towns—Lucban, Candelaria, Tiaong, Lopez, Gumaca, Pagbilao—and this city are now equipped with local laws regulating the use of plastics.
DENR, she said, has issued a final notice in 2010 to at least 25 towns to comply with the law or face charges in court.
“If they continue to ignore our warning, we will be forced to file cases in court,” Verzo said.
RA 9003 prohibits the use of open dumps and penalizes violators with a minimum fine of P500,000. Local officials face administrative charges for violations.
Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo said only 5 to 10 percent of local government units nationwide are complying with RA 9003.
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