DENR closes Pangasinan sanitary landfill

Published December 5, 2021, 5:43 PM

by Waylon Galvez

For the second time this year, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has re-issued a closure order against a sanitary landfill facility in Urdaneta City in Pangasinan.

This is for violation of Republic Act (RA) 9275 or the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004, and RA 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, accordign to DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu.

“We are on our way towards changing the psyche of the Filipino people when it comes to solid waste management. The success of the enforcement operations is a crucial part of this gargantuan endeavor,” said Cimatu.

According to DENR-Environmental Law Enforcement and Protection Service (ELEPS) Intelligence Operations team leader Rogelio Demelletes Jr., the sanitary landfill facility in Barangay Catablan, Urdaneta City was still using waste disposal despite the initial issuance of a cease and desist order on March 5 this year.

In its follow-up inspection conducted by the DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau-Region 1 (EMB-Region 1) last August 19, officials discovered that padlocks and barricades had been tampered.

Fresh tire tracks were left at the sanitary landfill facility cell and open dumpsite, which indicated the arrival and departure of dump trucks and other waste disposal equipment.

The EMB-Region 1 also noted the presence of newly dumped waste at the time of monitoring, as well as the unauthorized opening of the previously decommissioned pipe connecting the storm drainage pond and canal leading to the Sinocalan River.

DENR-Region 1 Executive Director Crizaldy Barcelo and EMB-Region 1 Director Maria Dorica Naz-Hipe, with the help of DENR local officials and ELEPS personnel, led the re-issuance of CDO last Oct.7 to the city government of Urdaneta City to stop the operation of the sanitary landfill facility.

In its order, the DENR-Region 1 said the illegal operation of the landfill is a blatant disregard of the Pollution Adjudication Board’s order pursuant to DENR-PAB Case No. 01-1024A-20.

The team also took action as it already cemented the pipe connecting the storm drainage pond and canal leading to the Sinocalan River, which is located at the back of the facility.