By Katherine Adraneda Updated January 29, 2009 12:00 AM
[ philstar.com ]
Environmental activists yesterday reiterated their call for the government to immediately stop “defective and anomalous” landfill projects in Bulacan and Rizal.
This, as they also criticized the investigations being undertaken by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) into alleged irregularities in existing and planned landfill projects.
The Kalikasan-People’s Network for the Environment said that aside from being “socially unacceptable,” there are some anomalies on how landfill projects were allowed to operate by concerned government units.
The group was referring to three landfills adjacent to Metro Manila – those in Rodriguez, Rizal and Norzagaray, Bulacan, which are purportedly located in the La Mesa and Ipo dams, respectively, as well as the new one in San Mateo town, also in Rizal, which is supposedly being built inside a “protected forest area,” threatening to pollute and contaminate water sources in the area such as the Maly River.
Kalikasan said more landfills will also be put up in the towns of San Jose del Monte in Bulacan, and Ternate in Cavite, which are similarly located in watersheds and forest areas.
“As Metro Manila tries to resolve its perennial problem on garbage, more and more communities and environmentally critical areas outside the sprawling metropolis have been marked as dumping grounds for an estimated 8,000 tons of waste generated daily,” said Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of Kalikasan.
“However, these so-called ‘sanitary landfills’ have various flaws and irregularities (on issues ranging) from technical feasibility, environmental and health safety, to kickbacks and corruption,” he added.
During a press conference, an environmental and sanitary expert who served as a consultant to a sanitary landfill project in Davao said the P380-million San Mateo landfill is “technically flawed” and likely “in violation of several environmental standards and guidelines.”
To start with, engineer Darrow Lucenario said the site selection for the landfill project is already inappropriate.
He cited DENR Administrative Order 98-50 that mandates that a landfill “should be far from deep wells, rivers (and) other bodies of water.”
Bautista said they showed Lucenario pictures and video footages they took of the San Mateo landfill during a recent investigation.
Lucenario said the landfill project may be “overpriced” because a simple sanitary landfill only costs less than P100 million while a landfill complete with a treatment facility costs about P300 million.
During their ocular inspection, Bautista said there was no heavy infrastructure in the site.
He added that the 19-hectare landfill, which can be expanded to 200 hectares, was about 50 percent complete when they inspected it.
Bautista insisted that the proponents of the San Mateo landfill wrongly constructed it on a portion of a protected forested area, particularly in Barangays Maly and Guinayang, instead of building it in Sitio Mabilog na Bato, Barangay Pintong Bukawe, as indicated in the environmental compliance certificate (ECC) issued to them by the DENR on Nov. 24 last year.