Nalzaro: Waste disposal is a global problem


HERE’S a group that call themselves Protect Binaliw Movement (PBM), which is calling for the total closure of the newly opened landfill in Binaliw, a mountain barangay in Cebu City, because of its foul smell and violation of some environmental laws. The group has launched a signature campaign and plans to present this to the city officials and government agencies concerned.

In a separate move, the Binaliw Barangay Council also filed an official complaint before the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) 7 of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) citing the same concerns. But the council is not demanding a total closure. It only asks the operators to come up with mitigating measures to address the problems.

The landfill, operated by ARN Central Waste Management, lies in a 10-hectare mountainous area. It is located several kilometers away from the residential area and a subdivision in the barangay. It was supposed to operate this July but it opened ahead of schedule when the Mandaue City Government entered into a contract with the management to dispose of its garbage following the closure of the Consolacion Sanitary Landfill. The Cebu City Government also entered into an agreement with ARN for the disposal of the city’s garbage starting this July when it won in the bidding. The contract price is P65 million from July to December.

The oppositors claim that the landfill’s stench has reached residential areas. Well, stench is borderless as it will be carried by the wind. And what can we expect from a landfill? No garbage smells like a perfume. They also claim that it has caused the increase of respiratory diseases, especially on children living in the area, and there was a misrepresentation in the application and permit because the application was only for a material recovery facility (MRF) and not a landfill. But this is being refuted by the legal counsel of EMB 7, who said that the application and permit granted by the bureau was for MRF and landfill operations.

What is funny is that there are known personalities who are not residents of the barangay who joined the closure movement. I don’t know what their agenda is. Maybe they are just concerned for the environment or being used by some interested parties.

First and foremost, why was the landfill granted a permit? Why were these problems not preempted? Was there a proper consultation and public hearing conducted in the barangay before it was allowed to operate? Did the issue on the stench crop up during the public hearing and what measures are management planning to undertake to avoid such problem? Has the operator been following the rules and policies set by the EMB now that the landfill is operational?

If we are going to close the Binaliw landfill, where will we dump our garbage? Not only the Cebu City residents will be affected but other local government units that are also disposing their garbage there. Look what has been happening in Mandaue City these last few months when the Consolacion landfill was closed following the cease and desist order issued by DENR. If the Binaliw landfill will be closed because that’s what other sectors want, then we have to look for an alternative dumping site. There is another landfill in Aloguinsan but it is also subject to protest and it will cost us more because of the distance. Kitay mabaho dinhi sa siyudad og wala tay kalabayan sa atong mga basura.

Garbage or waste disposal is a global issue. Imagine Canada and South Korea were dumping their garbage here in the country. Disposing of waste has huge environmental impacts and can cause serious problems. One of the most daunting issues facing the world is the mounting waste problem, which impairs public health, pollutes the environment and threatens to drown some countries in toxicity. Landfill sites are pretty ugly. There are many negative issues associated with landfills. The three most important problems with landfills are toxins, leachate and greenhouse gases. If we will avoid these problems, where will we dump our waste?


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