‘Out with killer landfills, in with composting’
An environmentalist group on Wednesday pushed for the closure of sanitary landfills to protect watersheds and prevent industrial disasters like the one that killed four workers in Rodriguez, Rizal province, last month.
The Bangon Kalikasan Movement said the government should instead give priority to ecological solid waste management “at source,” or in homes and business establishments.
The group’s president, Joey Papa, stressed that every household and barangay could do composting in their backyard, segregate wastes and recycle items that would otherwise be thrown away. He cited a project in Quezon City that involved mostly ordinary housewives.
“As an alternative to the dumpsite, every household and barangay can do composting, together with waste segregation at source and recycling, through the Ecology Center System or Materials Recovery Facility as provided for in the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act,” he said.
Papa said biodegradables make up about 60 to 65 percent of the garbage generated every day and brought to the landfills. “If composting in households or in the barangay ecocenter were being carried out as a rule, there would have been no mountain of garbage where the workers were killed,” he said, referring to the April 19 tragedy in Rodriguez.
He also raised fears that the government’s tacit approval of using landfills could take its toll on the environment, noting that “as of 2007, when the landfill in Rodriguez was opened, there were already more than 600 applications for the establishment of so-called sanitary landfills, most likely on watersheds, like the site of the Rizal and Payatas landfills.”
Papa cited the examples shown by Quezon City residents who now compost their household wastes to reduce the volume of garbage going to the Payatas landfill, which made headlines in July 2000 when a trash avalanche killed more than 200 people.
“These residents cultivate gardens for food and pleasure, and, hopefully, to create a forest,” he said.
In Barangay Teachers Village East, for instance, the residents reduced their waste collection by 30 to 40 percent in the first quarter of 2013 after they began composting and segregating their wastes, Papa said. DJ Yap
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