DOH advises Cebu City to close Inayawan landfill

THE landfill in Barangay Inayawan, Cebu City should be stopped because it poses a health hazard to the public, the Department of Health (DOH)-Central Visayas said.

The agency inspected the landfill last week and found out it lacked 12 sanitary requirements to operate a disposal facility.

“The disposal area is not anymore suitable as a sanitary landfill even if rehabilitated, considering its location within the city, the number of residents and the increasing population of the city, the neighboring cities and towns, and the expected increase in number of commercial centers, transportation and tourist concerns,” DOH-Central Visayas said in an inspection report.

The report also states that residents, commercial centers, shanties and scavengers near the dump site are at “high risk” of acquiring different illnesses because of the landfill.

“Due to lack of sanitary requirements, environmental, health and community safety issues, immediate closure of the Inayawan sanitary landfill is highly recommended,” DOH said.

They also recommended for the City Government to relocate the landfill to a more suitable site.

Sanitary engineers of the DOH inspected the landfill last Sept. 5 upon the request of Councilor Joel Garganera, who has been pushing for the landfill to be closed again.

The inspection report was made the day after. A copy was furnished by DOH-Central Visayas Director Jamie Bernadas to Garganera, chairperson of the City Council’s committee on environment.

One of the requirements for the operation of a disposal facility, DOH said, is an operating permit from them, which the City does not have.

The operation of the facility also doesn’t have a sanitation permit.

Too full

DOH pointed out that the landfill, which was established in 1995, already exceeded its capacity. It has been operating for 17 years when it is supposed to last for only seven years.

“This has caused the over pile-up of refuse or garbage in the perimeter and board of the landfill,” they said.

The pile of garbage in the facility is already 40 meters high on the side of the Filinvest residential complex, 40 meters on the side of Barangay Cogon Pardo, and 10 to 20 meters high on the side that faces Barangay Inayawan.

Aside from that, DOH requires that a 200-meter buffer zone be established from the landfill to the nearest dwelling, but the agency said that was not met either.

A requirement to cover the garbage was also not implemented. The DOH added that the landfill has no functional drainage for the leachate; no bulldozer to level the trash; and no fire protection.

“There is no evidence or record of an installed pipe ventilator for the accumulated methane gas exhaust,” the report stated.

3 laws

DOH went on to say that the landfill has no garbage grinder or materials recovery area.

The operation of the landfill, they said, violates the Clean Air Act, the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, Sanitation Code of the Philippines and the environmental compliance certificate of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Following the DOH findings, Councilor Garganera said he plans to file a writ of kalikasan before the Court of Appeals on Wednesday so the operation of the landfill will be stopped.

He said his objection to its operation is not even a party stand of Team Rama.

“This is a health issue that concerns all Cebuanos. If you continue the operation of the landfill, it’s like throwing good money after the bad,” he said.

He also criticized the announcement of Mayor Tomas Osmeña to give P5,000 to the students of the University of Cebu-Maritime Education and Training Center for the inconvenience caused by the stench from the landfill.

Whose call?

Garganera said that would be like bribery.

Why, he asked, would the City give P35 million (for 7,000 students) to just one institution when there are many residents, establishments, and other educational institutions near the landfill who are also affected by the foul smell?

If such a proposal will be approved by the council, he said it would set a bad precedent.

Garganera also begged to differ from the City Legal Office’s opinion that the mayor has the final say on closing the landfill or not.

“It is not the mayor’s call. It is the law. And the mayor is not the law,” he said.

Sought for comment about the development, Mayor Tomas Osmeña said he is firm on his stand to use the landfill as he doesn’t want the City to back to Consolacion or hire a private hauler because that would be throwing millions away.

Agenda

He said the City is already doing its job to improve the landfill’s operation and in addressing the smell it emits.

That, despite the legislative body’s blocking the proposal to buy anapog or limestone to cover the garbage.

“The council seems to be promoting a hidden agenda of benefiting a private hauling contractor up to P600,000 a day,” he said. He referred to the private hauler hired by the previous administration to bring the garbage from a transfer station in Inayawan to the private sanitary landfill in Consolacion, more than 12 kilometers away.

The mayor went on to say that he would rather give P5,000 to students to help pay for their schooling instead of paying the private hauler.

The City already stopped the hauler’s services but owes them some P29 million.

If DOH or DENR will not let him dispose of waste at the landfill, Osmeña said he will consider dumping it in front of the legislative building or Malacañang sa Sugbo or in the South Road Properties.

The Inayawan landfill was reopened by the City in June.

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