Tuesday, January 4, 2011

LGUs given final notice on use of open dumps

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has issued Final Notice of Violation to some 183 local governments for the continued use of open dumps. In an interview, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje said that the notices were issued against the local governments for their continued use of open dumps, which violates the provisions of Republic Act 9003, or the “Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.”

“The law states that every municipality and city in the country should have its own landfill. It also orders LGUs [local government units] to comply immediately,” Paje told The Manila Times.

However, he admitted that the Environment department was having a hard time implementing the order because of budget constrictions on the part of the national government.

“We have discussed that issue with all the local government heads and we have reached an agreement that part of the budget for the construction of the landfills will be provided by the national government,” Paje said.

“However, the national government doesn’t have the budget to provide financial assistance for the construction of landfills, particularly those in the provinces,” he added.

Paje noted that the construction of the landfills would cost P7 to P9 billion—depending on the quality of
the facility.

“But we don’t want to take it as an excuse for the LGU not to comply with the law,” he said.

To ensure compliance with environmental regulations, Paje said that the department will intensify its waste management programs, particularly the establishment of materials recovery facilities in various cities and municipalities to reduce waste from the source—beginning in households—through segregation and recycling.

“We will go down to the barangay level to increase awareness among its officials about the importance of having their own materials recovery facility. We hope that this will iron out issues and pledge to work together in solving environmental problems, particularly solid waste which is one of the largest contributors to global warming,” he added.

The Environment chief further said that they will start the awareness campaign in Metro Manila through a series of consultative meetings with barangay officials and subdivision owners.

“If we succeed in Metro Manila, there’s no reason for us to fail in other municipalities,” he said.


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