THE Environmental Management Bureau 7 has given ARN Central Waste Management Inc., the private operator of the landfill in Barangay Binaliw, 100 days to finish its material recovery facility (MRF).
The decision was reached after the technical meeting held on Friday, June 7, 2019 with EMB 7, ARN and residents of Barangay Binaliw who initiated a signature campaign to close the landfill.
EMB 7 Director William Cuñado tasked the private firm and the residents to pro-actively comply with the solutions that were agreed upon in the meeting.
For one, ARN was tasked to require their haulers to upgrade their garbage vehicles to compactor trucks to avoid spillage and leachate from the waste, within 30 days.
Residents, on the one hand, are asked to monitor the haulers to check if they have followed the rules. They can elevate the issue to the barangay if this is not followed, Cuñado said.
The private operator was also required to submit a position paper as to why it should not be penalized for violation of the Environmental Clearance Certificate (ECC) condition nos. 5, 17, and 24, also within 30 days.
These ECC conditions cover the environmental impact assessment (EIA), the Philippine Environmental Impact Statement System (PEISS) and self-monitoring, multi-sectoral validation and EMB evaluation of ARN’s environmental performance against the ECC and its environment management plan.
Cuñado said failure of ARN to follow the commitments under the agreement will mean a penalty will be imposed on them.
Cuñado said, during his visit to the site, the smell coming from the garbage is minimal and he just hoped once the sanitary landfill will officially start its operation, it will observe the environmental requirements.
The environment official added they will monitor the site since this is somehow the “first site that is close to an ideal landfill.”
“Once that will be completed, maybe we can invite people from Manila to observe this kind of process so they can also do it there especially in highly urbanized areas,” Cuñado said.
ARN president and executive director Sherwin Santos said they are confident they can meet the deadlines since they have already started doing it.
In an earlier interview, Santos said they are targeting to complete the MRF building by the end of August. However, they will officially start operating on July 1, 2019 while explaining that what they are doing now is partially operating the facility as a result of the closure of the Consolacion landfill when a truck driver died in May 2019.
Santos said they have come to a commitment with the barangay officials through a joint mission. He said the barangay will support them in coordinating with the haulers.
“We will talk with the haulers. If they won’t follow, that’s the time we will elevate it to the barangay and then to the municipality,” Santos said.
As of the moment, Santos said there are around 40 haulers registered to their facility and there are around 130 hauler trucks going to the sanitary landfill every day. The haulers are coming from Cebu City, Mandaue, Consolacion and Compostela.
At the end of August, once the MRF will be completed, Santos said the management will be having its own power system, power lines, and water rehabilitation system, as well as the use of the machines.
Along with the MRF is the thermal reduction unit, according to Santos, which is designed to accommodate up to 3,000 tons of garbage. Right now, the facility has been receiving 50 tons of garbage on average, and up to 700 tons when there are occasions.
“What will happen is all the garbage will be unloaded at the thermal unit and the material recovery attendant will segregate them. The remaining waste will then be put in a chamber with very high temperature so it be cooked,” explained Santos.
The equipment used is the pyrolysis engine in which the temperature can reach up to 800 degrees to cook the materials. It will only then take an hour to digest the 10 tons of garbage, Santos elaborated.
Santos said once the materials are fully cooked these will turn into ashes which can be used as fertilizer and construction material.
Santos said the 15-hectare landfill will house three phases of components: the material recovery facility (MRF) and engineered sanitary landfill, the treatment and waste processing facility, and waste to energy facility.
They are targeting to complete all the facilities, especially the WTE facility, three to five years from now, Santos said.
Meanwhile, in a separate interview, retired Army Col. Jefferson Omandam, who heads the Protect Binaliw Movement, challenged Binaliw Barangay Captain Viviane Ruste to launch her own signature campaign that will dispel the residents’ claim that the landfill is emitting foul odor.
Omandam said it is easy for Ruste to claim that the landfill is not emitting a foul smell because she does not live near the community where the landfill is located.
“The people will not give a damn as to what they will do with their facility as long as it will not smell, the swarm of flies will not grow and the water source will not be polluted,” he said in Cebuano.
He said what worries residents is that the people will no longer have water to drink from their wells and the river will no longer be there for them to use once the rainy season starts as the leachate coming from the landfill will flow downstream.
The garbage facility is located a few meters above the community. (From PAC of Superbalita Cebu/VLA)