THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will be monitoring compliance of the city to guidelines on the use of the Irisan dump.

In a statement from the office of DENR regional executive director Ralph Pablo, the monitoring to the compliance of the City Government of Baguio to the conditions set will be strictly enforced.

The city has been ordered by the environment department to haul out all accumulated stored mixed waste materials or raw compost mixed with plastics.

“All equipment and machines to be used in converting raw compost into organic fertilizers must be installed and operationalized and only biodegradable waste should be collected in the area and that no residual waste is stored. All conditions should be complied with not later than July 31, 2019,” said the statement.

The DENR also ordered the city to convert the Irisan dumpsite into an environmentally-friendly eco-park which should be finished not later than December 31, 2019.

DENR through the Environment Management Bureau-Cordillera will take the lead in overseeing the city implementation of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act and monitor the situation in the dumpsite to ensure hazardous conditions and health risks to people working and living near the area are averted, which, regional director Ma. Victoria Abrera emphasized in a letter addressed to then Mayor Mauricio Domogan.

The DENR said the City Government of Baguio, through General Services Office head Eugene Buyucan, explained it has yet to carry out its obligation to convert and establish the area of the Irisan dumpsite into an eco-park.

According to him, an Irisan Dumpsite Eco-Park Development Plan has been submitted to the Court of Appeals on April 24, 2019. Funding, amounting to P10 million has been allocated by the city government for the implementation.

However, Buyucan manifested the plans of an eco-park in the area could not be immediately pushed through due to accumulated raw compost in the area and the fact that the soil therein is loose and has to make sure the soil is stable before the plan for an ecological park in the area is implemented.

Buyucan acknowledged that unfortunately, biodegradable wastes collected are wrapped in plastic containers and claimed that this malpractice has been addressed by hiring casual employees responsible for removing plastic containers and other non-biodegradable wastes mixed in the collected garbage.

The DENR also vowed to work closely with the city government for any technical assistance it may offer, especially on the establishment of an eco-park in the Irisan dumpsite area.

Last week, the DENR issued a temporary closure order to the Irisan dump for its failure to implement the transformation and establishment of an environment-friendly eco-park at the Irisan dumpsite area, and the stoppage of all activities which may hamper, defeat or contradict such.

The city government was found in violation of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations for causing or permitting the collection of non-segregated or unsorted wastes.

This scenario greeted newly-installed Mayor Benamin Magalong on his first day in office.