Thursday, September 23, 2010

Gov’t Suspending ECC Issuance for Sanitary Landfills

Green advocates appealed on Wednesday to the
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to put into
writing its commitment to suspend the issuance of environmental
compliance certificates (ECCs) for the establishment of additional
sanitary landfills.

Environment Secretary Ramon Paje declared his commitment to suspend
the ECC issuance for landfill applications during the Green SoNA
(State of the Nature Address) organized by the Green Convergence in
Quezon City last week.

Paje was also asked to review and evaluate the operation of all
existing waste disposal facilities to determine their compliance with
required health, environmental and other standards.

“Sanitary landfills are nothing but glorified dumps, polluting our
environment and endangering public health. We hope that the good
secretary will fulfill his commitment by issuing an appropriate
administrative order within 15 days,” Joey Papa of Bangon Kalikasan, a
member of the Task Force Dumps of the EcoWaste Coalition, said.

Papa noted the so-called "sanitary" landfills in Barangays San Isidro
and Minuyan Proper in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan, as examples of
waste disposal facilities, which were approved by the DENR but whose
operations continue as hauling and dumping of mixed wastes and
releasing toxic leachate to the water systems and polluting the

Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 or Republic Act 9003
has prohibited the operation of open dumps since February 2004 and
controlled dumps since February 2006.

The law also prohibits the establishment and operation of sanitary
landfills within environmentally-critical areas.

“There is no such thing as a ‘sanitary’ landfill. Secretary Paje must
immediately stop the operations of these toxic facilities,” Papa said.

As of the last quarter of 2009, the National Solid Waste Management
Commission (NSWMC) recorded 30 landfills already operating and 42
under construction.

“Landfills are very expensive so landfill owners and operators will
encourage more mixed wastes to be dumped into their facilities.
Landfills undermine the implementation of our environmental laws and
the efforts of many communities to sort and segregate waste at source,
compost, and recycle” Rei Panaligan of the EcoWaste Coalition said.

It pointed out that most of the existing landfills are located in
environmentally-critical areas such as protected areas, watershed,
mountain ranges and foreshore lands.


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