REOPENING the Inayawan Sanitary Landfill is not illegal, but the Cebu City Government will have to stand by its commitment to comply with the conditions of its environmental compliance certificate (ECC).
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 7 Director Isabelo Montejo said yesterday that reopening the Inayawan Sanitary Landfill is not illegal per se because it was not subject to a closure order of the agency.
Montejo said it was former Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama who ordered it closed after his agency informed him of some violations of the provisions of the ECC.
He said that based on the condition of the dumpsite before, it was appropriate to close it because of violations of the requirements of a sanitary landfill.
“It seemed that the area was still considered as an open dumping site. And also, during that time, there was no more segregation of solid waste,” Montejo said.
Speaking during a press conference, Montejo said the condition was that the wastes that will be brought to the sanitary landfill are those that can no longer be recycled, and non-biodegradable wastes that cannot be used.
Because this requirement was not complied with, the sanitary landfill was filled easily and the City Government was forced to close it.
Montejo said that with the new administration of Mayor Tomas Osmena, the Cebu City Government has signed a commitment to adhere or to follow the conditions of the ECC.
The commitment came after two weeks of discussions on the uncontrolled dumping of garbage in Inayawan and the violations of the ECC with DENR 7 and Mines and Geo-Sciences Bureau officials and former city councilor Nida Cabrera, who now heads the City’s environment office.
Among the conditions that the City committed to adhere to is the operation of a Material Recovery Facility (MRF) to collect all recyclables so that only 30 percent of the wastes generated in the city will be dumped at the landfill, and the other 70 percent will be sold to junk shops.
They also agreed that biodegradable materials will be included in the plans and activities for composting.
The second condition is to put a lining on the dumpsite to contain the stench within the facility.
“If they follow on that, then only 30 percent will be brought to the landfill and 70 percent of that will be recycled or will be converted into fertilizer or compost,” Montejo said.
Montejo added that if the City Government will just follow the conditions set in the ECC, which is still in effect, then reopening of the Inayawan Sanitary Landfill will not be a problem.
He said that it will even help the City save money because it will no longer have to pay tipping fees to the operators of the private landfill in Consolacion.
It will also provide livelihood to the people through recycling of solid waste, Montejo said.