SC orders Cebu City to start rehabilitation of Inayawan landfill
The Supreme Court (SC) has ordered the Cebu City government to stop garbage dumping operations at the Inayawan landfill and to start its rehabilitation.
In a decision made public Wednesday, the high court, through Associate Justice Noel Tijam, said dumping about 600 tons of garbage daily poses serious environmental hazard to the community.
The high court dismissed the petition filed by Cebu City Mayor Tomas R. Osmeña seeking to reverse a Court of Appeals ruling in 2016, which granted the first-ever Writ of Kalikasan in Cebu and ordered the city government to close the landfill.
The SC echoed the findings of the appeals court that “the continued operation of the Inayawan landfill poses a serious and pressing danger to the environment that could result in injurious consequences to the health and lives of the nearby residents.”
The CA noted that based on a study conducted by the Environment Management Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in 2016, the proper treatment of the leachate at the Inayawan landfill has not been complied with prior to its discharge to the Cebu Strait.
“Since leachate is contaminated liquid from decomposed waste, it is not difficult to consider the magnitude of the potential environment damage it can unleash if this is released to a receiving water body without being sufficiently treated first, as in this case,” the study noted.
In 1993, the DENR issued the Cebu City government a permit to use the Inayawan landfill, but in 2011, the city government itself decided to close it.
A year later, the landfill was partially closed and the city started using a privately operated landfill in Consolacion. In 2015, the Inayawan landfill was formally closed.
But in June 2016, the city government requested the EMB to allow the temporary opening of the landfill. The request was reiterated in another letter dated June 27, 2016. The EMB, through its regional director, did not object to the request. After a month, the landfill officially re-opened.
In September 2016, the EMB issued a notice of violation to the city government. The Department of Health (DOH) also ordered the landfill’s closure because of the city government’s failure to comply with sanitary requirements and safety issues.
Following the closure order, a petition for a Writ of Kalikasan was filed with the appeals court, with a prayer for the issuance of a temporary environment protection order (TEPO).
The petition was granted, prompting the Cebu City government to take the case to the Supreme Court. /ee
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