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DENR thumbs down QC gov’t bid to reopen Payatas

/ 06:35 AM August 18, 2017

The Payatas landfill has a dark history that environment officials don’t want repeated. —LYN RILLON

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) thumbed down the request of the Quezon City government to reopen the Payatas sanitary landfill, citing the high risk of trash slides and violations of environmental laws.

In a letter to Mayor Herbert Bautista, Jonas Leones, the environment undersecretary for policy, planning and international affairs, said the DENR came up with “adverse findings” during a recent inspection.

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Last week, the Environment Management Bureau and the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) inspected the landfill to determine whether the city government could still dump waste in Payatas or two more months or until yearend, as requested by Bautista.

The team’s report revealed that IPM Environmental Services, the landfill’s operator, had committed “violations of existing environmental laws and their respective rules and regulations.”

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According to the report, “leachate from the landfill is still flowing towards (a nearby) creek without undergoing treatment” while foul odor continues to emanate from the dump despite the use of a deodorizer.

The MGB also concluded that the landfill was “highly susceptible to trash slide.”

In July 2000, a trash slide in Payatas, which was then an open dump, killed more than 200 people and buried thousands of homes.

In his letter to Bautista, Leones noted that the city generates at least 2,970 tons or 1.247 cubic meters of solid waste per day.

The allowed volume for Payatas, however, is only 15,000 cubic meters. Allowing it to operate for two more months would therefore not be feasible since it would already exceed capacity in less than two weeks, he added.

Instead, the DENR encouraged the Quezon City government to strongly implement the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, which calls on residents to reuse, reduce and recycle household waste.

IPM, meanwhile, was ordered to rehabilitate the landfill and submit a safe closure and rehabilitation plan to the DENR for approval.

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Bautista said he could not yet comment at press time as he had not yet received the DENR decision.

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TAGS: Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Payatas sanitary landfill, violations of environmental laws
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