QC gov't appeals closure of Payatas landfill
MANILA, Philippines – The Quezon City government appealed to Environment Secretary Gina Lopez to reconsider her plan to shut down the Payatas sanitary landfill by the first quarter of 2017.
"The Quezon City government is addressing every necessary step to address the concerns of the DENR secretary," the QC environmental protection and waste management department (EPWMD) said in a statement.
"To this extent, the Quezon City government is appealing to Secretary Lopez that the city government be given sufficient time to prepare for all the vital adjustments to ensure minimal impact on the city's solid waste management plan."
The EPWMD said the end of their waste hauling contract by September 2017 will serve as a "pivotal moment" that will ensure a "smooth transition" for QC to dispose of its waste in an alternative landfill site.
But Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of the Kalikasan People's Network for the Environment, said the national government has given "too many extensions" to the QC government
Asked if the first quarter of 2017 is enough time for the local government to find an alternative landfill, Bautista said this is "more than enough."
"The city government should have done it two to three years ago. Anyway, if it's not enough based on technical and scientific assessment, the DENR…should take the responsibility," he told Rappler on Saturday, January 21.
Factors to consider
The QC government said it has been studying other possible alternative landfills even before Lopez' announcement.
In fact, they're eyeing the Rizal provincial landfill in Rodriguez, Rizal, the Navotas-Tanza sanitary landfill via Manila North Harbor's Pier 18, and the Vitas Marine loading station, among other locations.
But according to EPWMD chief Frederika Rentoy, there are factors to consider before transferring the landfill to an alternative site, such as its impact on traffic and the city's waste collection schedule.
Since the city generates an estimated 2,700 tons of garbage per day, the local government deploys an estimated 500 trucks daily.
"It is important to consider traffic impact as a result of the change in the collection-disposal route of trucks to also minimize the effect in the garbage collection efficiency currently enjoyed by QC residents," the EPWMD said.
The EPWMD is also concerned about a possible increase in hauling costs.
For example, they estimated that bringing garbage from Quezon City to the Rizal provincial landfill would require an additional P300 million in hauling costs. They said allocating such funds would require time and action from the city government's executive department and city council.
The closure of Payatas will also affect the livelihood of wastepickers, according to the EPWMD.
"Since their sources of income are derived mainly from the sale of recyclables from Payatas, preparing them to find alternative means of livelihood will be a burden to be carried by the QC government," they explained.
The DENR wants to shut down the landfill because environment officials worry it might "constitute a danger to the drinking water of Metro Manila."
Lopez also recently issued an order prohibiting dumpsites near bodies of water. – Rappler.com