Landfill rehab stalled, as lot privately owned

Landfill rehab stalled, as lot privately owned
SunStar Inayawan

THE existing landfill in Barangay Inayawan was supposed to undergo rehabilitation, but the Cebu City Government’s plan was stalled after the City found out that the lot is now privately owned.

This was revealed by Councilor Joel Garganera in an interview with Sunstar Cebu’s news and commentary program “Beyond the Headlines” on Tuesday, June 25, 2024, as he pointed out that the rehabilitation plan had not made any progress as it was already in the hands of a private businessman and not under the jurisdiction of Cebu City’s government.

“Until now, there has been none, because initially there was a plan for the Pond A, which involved a private constructor who was supposed to mine or rehabilitate it. However, it turned out that our landfill is not owned by Cebu City,” Garganera said.

A Writ of Kalikasan was introduced in 2016 to address the environmental issues of the Inayawan Landfill, with Garganera being the first city official to petition for this initiative.

On Jan. 27, 2022, Cebu City initiated a five-year mining and filling plan for the Inayawan Landfill and Pond A, assigning Expedition Construction Corp. to oversee the project.

But regardless of ownership, the concern regarding the Inayawan landfill still poses a threat and is a disaster bound to happen, the councilor stressed, adding that it “remains our duty to take action in this matter since it is our waste that is causing the issue.”

“For me, we must still shoulder the responsibility to rehabilitate it, as we are answerable, leaving no room for excuses,” Garganera said.

Presently, Cebu City is utilizing the Binaliw landfill, incurring a tipping fee of P1,100, up from P700. This situation contributes to the challenge of irregular garbage collection in the city due to limited trucks and the considerable distance to the current landfill site.

Risks

On May 25, 2023, a fire erupted at a dumpsite within the Inayawan Landfill, raising significant concerns as the burning garbage emitted methane gas, posing risks to nearby residents.

Garganera, in a separate interview on Tuesday, expressed his worry about the risk of the harmful gases emitted into the atmosphere.

“On my part, on the environmental aspect, para nako (for me), that is garbage. It produces methane gas, and that is a disaster bound to happen,” said Garganera.

Cebu City Government had earlier planned to rehabilitate the landfill in Barangay Inayawan as well as transform the garbage dumping site into a “self-contained city.”

Lawyer Janeses Ponce, chairman of the Solid Waste Management Board Ponce earlier said that the city plans to proceed with the hauling of the garbage and use it as dumping material for Pond A located at the South Road Properties.

The rehabilitation of the landfill started in 2014. In 2015, then-mayor Michael Rama permanently closed the landfill.

The rehabilitation was halted due to the change of administration in 2016, according to Garganera.

Garganera said that the City Government has been using the area for landfill for more than 20 years.

He supposed that the City Government actually owns the landfill, it even went through the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda).

“To my knowledge, kita man gyu’y tag-iya ana. Kon pwede pa lang magbutang ta og dako kaayo nga project sama niana nga Inayawan Landfill nga you know, it takes years to prepare that and that passed through Neda pa gyud. Nya karon dako kaayo nga skandaloso nga dili na nuon kita’y tag-iya (To my knowledge, we are the owner of that. If only we could put up a very big project like that Inayawan Landfill that you know, it takes years to prepare that and that passed through Neda. Now it is very scandalous that we are not owners anymore),” said Garganera.

Garganera added that even the former mayor Tomas Osmeña filed a case against the private ownership of the landfill.

However, Garganera is not certain of the status of the case right now.

Waste-to- energy project

Meanwhile, Garganera said that the City’s waste-to-energy (WTE) project, designed to transform waste into energy for areas in the city, is expected to be operational in 2025.

He said the project is currently in the process of securing permits and necessary documentation, with a deadline set in November.

The project, capable of processing 800 tons daily and generating 18 megawatts, has the potential to handle the average 600 tons of garbage collected daily in Cebu City. This capacity could open doors to accommodate waste from areas beyond Cebu City, he said.

Once operational, the was WTE project will be the first large-scale WTE initiative in the country, aiming to tackle waste issues and enhance energy stability, he also said.

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