By Ellalyn de Vera Ruiz
Only 108 sanitary landfills or 6 percent of the total required number of landfills nationwide have been established 20 years after the Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act took in effect.
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units (LGU) Concerns Benny Antiporda said the number of sanitary landfills in the country remains small.
“What we need in this country is about 1,700 sanitary landfills for all the municipalities and cities. But, sad to say, we only have 108 as of the moment and this number could even decrease in the future,” he pointed out.
“Our sanitary landfills are filled up and what happens next is some might go back to open dumpsite, which is illegal under RA 9003. We will not allow this to happen,” he added.
Sanitary landfill is the primary long-term method of solid waste disposal allowed under RA 9003.
Antiporda further noted that under the law, sanitary landfill is required in any LGU as a means of safe disposal of untreated solid waste or resource recovery residuals.
The DENR is looking at more engineered sanitary landfills that will be built before 2022 to address the growing problem of solid waste management in the country.
An “engineered” method of landfilling means that garbage is handled at a disposal facility that is designed, constructed, and operated in a manner protective of public health and the environment.
DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu earlier ordered Antiporda, who also chairs the National Solid Waste Management Commission, to “review and revise” DENR Administrative Order 2001-34 or the implementing rules and regulations of RA 9003 to make the establishment and operation of a sanitary landfill easier and less expensive.
The DENR chief noted that a lot of LGUs find it difficult to comply with the law as building and maintaining a sanitary landfill can be costly and somewhat complicated.