Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu has warned the local government units of Cebu City and Gapan City in Nueva Ecija over their reported negligence on solid waste management.
Cimatu said the two LGUs must seriously manage their waste management, or “face consequences” based on the existing laws and regulations on proper waste disposal.
“It has come to our attention that after closing the illegally operating dumpsites, there are LGUs that are not properly disposing of their solid waste,” Cimatu said in a statement, “We are warning these LGUs to seriously manage their wastes[,] or else face consequences of violating Republic Act 9003.”
Cimatu was referring to the Section 10 of Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, which states that the collection of non-recyclable materials and special waste is the responsibility of the municipality or city and that the segregation and collection of solid waste shall be conducted at the barangay level, while waste shall be sorted according to type—biodegradable, compostable, and recyclables.
He issued the warning after a garbage transfer station and a dumpsite in the said areas were found mismanaging their garbage during inspections of various DENR officials.
In particular, DENR Usec. Benny Antiporda, who led the closures of various dumpsites illegally operating, flagged a garbage transfer station in Cebu City, which was already ordered closed last month, for its “failure to transfer garbage to a sanitary landfill within 24 hours.”
“The pile of waste reached 10.8 meters high, which technically makes it an open dumpsite,” DENR said.
Also, in a July 26 report from the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB)-Region 3, a previously closed and rehabilitated dumpsite in Brgy. Macabaklay in Gapan City, Nueva Ecija, was discovered to have reopened and operated as an open dumpsite. While in Barangay Pambuan, a village in the same city, an “accumulation of solid waste which were directly in contact to the soil surface as well as infestation of flies” and “obnoxious odor” was also observed.
Although the EMB regional office immediately issued a notice of violation to the city government for the violation of RA 9003 and directed it “to cause the immediate closure and rehabilitation of the subject open dumpsite,” the LGU was not spared from DENR’s eye.
DENR urged local government units to put up their own sanitary landfills. If they are not capable of doing so, they are encouraged to cluster up with neighboring LGUs for the establishment of a clustered SLF, it added.
Currently, the agency has already shutdown at least 335 open dumpsites illegally operating in the country since the start of the 2021.