Cebu City adjusts after closing landfill; collection stinks

CEBU.  Garbage waits along the road going to the Guadalupe Church in Cebu City, right beside a sign telling people not to dump their trash in that area. A team of garbage collectors eventually arrived. (Amper Campaña)

CEBU - Bad roads, heavy traffic from Cebu City to Consolacion and the lack of garbage trucks have worsened the delays in garbage collection in the barangays after the closure of the Inayawan sanitary landfill.

Association of Barangay Councils President Phillip Zafra, also the barangay captain of Tisa, said that most of the barangays from the south district are struggling with their garbage collection.



When before they only had to bring their collected garbage to the Inayawan sanitary landfill, the barangays’ garbage trucks now have to deliver the garbage all the way to the private landfill in Barangay Pulog in Consolacion town, more than 12 kilometers north.

City Hall closed the landfill last Jan. 15. Before the closure, garbage from the barangays was sorted at the landfill before the City’s garbage trucks brought them to Consolacion.

Zafra, who sits as an ex-officio member of the City Council, also lamented that most of the barangays’ garbage trucks, if not all, are in bad shape.

“The landfill is just too far and the roads going there are in bad condition, so even the garbage trucks that are able to run eventually conk out. Also, the traffic going to Consolacion is very heavy. Our garbage trucks can barely make two trips in a day, that’s why we cannot avoid delays in the collection of the garbage,” he told Sun.Star Cebu.

Zafra said that in some interior areas of Tisa, garbage has not been collected for up to a month already.

Trying to get faster

“Some barangay captains told me na balikason na gani sila sa mga constituents kay dili gyud makolekta tanan (Some barangay captains have reported getting cussed by their constituents, because they can’t manage to pick up all the trash right away). For our part, we appeal for the understanding of the people. We are doing our best to collect the garbage promptly and we are looking for a more efficient, a faster and easier way of collecting the garbage,” he said.

Since Jan. 15, several barangay captains approached Zafra for help in addressing their problems.

The ABC president said they will ask the City Government to look for a private landfill in Talisay City or Minglanilla town that can serve the south district barangays.

Until then, the ABC will just have to find a way to assist the barangays that need help.

The ABC Board will hold an emergency meeting today to come up with an inventory of the garbage trucks that are still in running condition.

“We will see how we can pool our resources and maximize the use of the limited number of trucks that we have,” he said in a phone interview.

Fiesta’s effect

In a separate interview, Department of Public Services (DPS) Chief Rolando Ardoza said they are aware of the barangays’ problem, which is why they sent two 10-wheeler trucks to help collect the garbage in the south district.

Though they have already collected the garbage on the Sinulog route, the DPS has yet to pick up garbage from the households.

“Delatar gyud atong collection tungod sa traffic padung sa Consolacion (Garbage collection is delayed due to the traffic going to Consolacion). Also, the volume of garbage from the households increased because of the fiesta celebration. They have just been brought out to the streets; we’ve just started to collect them,” he told Sun.Star Cebu.

Ardoza said the DPS currently has 27 garbage trucks and it may send more trucks to the barangays, if necessary.

Zafra also appealed to the barangay officials to make sure that their Material Recovery Facility (MRF) is operational.

Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act requires every barangay to have its own MRF, which receives and sorts materials for disposal. In the MRF, recyclables are separated from biodegradable waste that can be composted.

If the operation of MRFs is sustained, Zafra said that the volume of garbage they would need to deliver to Consolacion would drop significantly.
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