Gina set on Payatas landfill closure
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will soon issue an order prohibiting garbage dumps near bodies of water or reservoirs, as it sets its sights on the closure of the Payatas landfill located near the La Mesa watershed in Quezon City.
The Quezon City government, however, is appealing for more time to find a site for a new waste disposal facility.
“We are issuing an order that there will no longer be dumpsites near bodies of water. It’s putting the lives of people at risk. There will be no more dumping [of trash] or toxics near bodies of water, and more so in Payatas,” Environment Secretary Gina Lopez said in a press conference on Wednesday. Lopez said she will issue the order within the first quarter of the year.
“[La Mesa watershed] is the reservoir of 12 million people … and the two water companies told me they’re not equipped to handle household waste,” Lopez said.
“But we are giving the mayors time to look for other places,” the DENR chief added.
Lopez said she had already spoken with Quezon City mayor Herbert Bautista about the Payatas landfill, and with Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña regarding the Inayawan landfill, which is situated near a river.
DENR Undersecretary Arturo Valdez pointed out that in issuing the order, the DENR would just be implementing provisions governing sanitary landfills under the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.
In a statement on Friday, Quezon City’s Environmental Protection and Waste Management Department asked Lopez for “sufficient time to prepare for all the vital adjustments to ensure minimal impact on the city’s solid waste management plan.”
EPWMD chief Frederika Rentoy said the local government had already been studying alternative destinations for the city’s garbage since its contract with trash haulers is set to expire in September.
Among the sites being considered are the Rizal provincial landfill in Rodriguez town or the Navotas-Tanza sanitary landfill.
Quezon City generates an estimated 2,700 tons of garbage a day, while EPWMD’s service contractors send out about 500 trucks to collect them daily.
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