Everyone should have road map to zero waste – Ramos

By Jose Santino S. Bunachita, Morexette Erram |September 07,2016 - 10:32 PM
INAYAWAN LANDFILL (CDN FILE PHOTO)

INAYAWAN LANDFILL (CDN FILE PHOTO)

Those affected by the Inayawan Landfill can file administrative complaints against the Cebu City government if they feel that their right to a safe and clean environment is violated.

According to Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Solid Waste Management section chief, Engr. Marco Andrew Silverio, Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, mandates local government units (LGUs) to “ensure the protection of the public health and environment”.

LGUs and officials who fail to comply with the mandate in RA 9003 can face administrative charges.
But according to Environmental lawyer Gloria Estenzo-Ramos, “The law already exists and people are still committing violations. The mere act of not segregating your own waste at home is a clear violation of RA 9003.”

Instead of filing administrative charges on behalf of the affected citizens, she said everyone should craft their own ‘road map to zero waste’, and for government officials to implement a concrete 10-year plan on solid waste management.

“And this should be acted upon not only by the LGUs but also private individuals and establishments. Being consumers, we are also the source of garbage and we must bear in mind that we are part of the bigger issue coming from it (Inayawan dumpsite). We must work hand-in-hand to address this,” she said.
Silvero echoed Ramos’ sentiments and encouraged the public to start a ‘strict’ habit on waste segregation in their own homes.

“We should take note that we are also contributing to this issue. The dumpsite is a reflection of how we manage our own trash. If we don’t act and change our old ways, there will always be another Inayawan problem,” he commented.

Charges

Ramos said anyone, be it a private individual or a government employee, can file a case against any person or government body who violates RA 9003.

“But before they file an administrative case before the ombudsman, they must first send a Notice to Sue to authorities, who will be given 30 days to act and address the violations the complainant incited upon them,” the lawyer added.

Silverio, on the other hand, said DENR has no authority to file administrative charges against the city government.

“ We only provide technical assistance to any environmental problems the current local administration is dealing with right now,” Silvero said during the Kapihan sa PIA forum yesterday in Barangay Lahug, Cebu City.

Commitments

Silvero said DENR has been monitoring the Inayawan dumpsite on a daily basis since the city government requested its reopening, contrary to complaints that DENR 7 did not do regular monitoring of the dumpsite.

“In fact, we have done monitoring activities on Inayawan dumpsite since 1999 because we know that its capacity will only last until 2005,” added Silvero in Cebuano.

Prior to having the city-owned dumpsite at Barangay Inayawan reopened, Cebu city government officials presented 14 commitments to DENR 7 and the region’s Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), ensuring all environmental provisions are observed and any violations committed before the reopening are addressed.

Silvero told reporters in a press conference that 2 out of 14 commitments made by the city administration are now in progress.

“Last weekend, we visited the Inayawan dumpsite and found out that they are already making progress on two of their commitments. One is to cover the trash with soil and pour chemical enzymes, both of which are aimed to lessen the impact of foul odor emitted by the fresh dump,” he said in Cebuano.

“ We are hoping that the Cebu city government will accomplish all the 14 commitments and find solutions to the 13 violations in its Environment Compliance Certificate (ECC),” he stated.

“We just cannot issue a closure of Inayawan right then and there. We must first provide a concrete solution,” Silvero said.

He said that they already provided city officials a timeline to implement these commitments although no specific deadlines and details were disclosed.

Negotiate

Meanwhile, Cebu City Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella said he will take the cudgels for the city and try to negotiate a better and cheaper deal with the private landfill in Consolacion.

He disagreed with Mayor Tomas Osmeña’s statement that he had no other choice but to continue using the landfill despite complaints from businessmen and students on the awful stench coming from the facility.
“With due respect to the mayor, I beg to disagree with him. There is always a choice. We can try to look for the owners. Maybe we can ask that our rate should be the same with that of Consolacion,” Labella said in his press conference yesterday.

He said that the Consolacion government is reportedly paying only P350 per ton of garbage as tipping fee, or half of what the Cebu City government is paying.

Labella said he will meet with Consolacion Mayor Teresa Alegado to get in touch with representatives of the Asian Energy Systems Corp., owner of the private landfill in the town.

“We have to find a way to rectify. I know the Consolacion landfill is really available. It’s just a matter of negotiating. I’m willing to help as long as we can stop the dumping in Inayawan that has taken a toll on our people’s health and sanitation,” Labella said.

The Cebu City Council, during its regular session, passed a resolution urging the closure of the Inayawan landfill and a moratorium on dumping garbage there.

City Attorney Joseph Bernaldez said the council cannot force the executive to close the landfil saying it’s the prerogative of the mayor as the local chief executive of the city.

“That’s an executive decision. Therefore, the city council cannot impose its will on the mayor as to what to do with the landfill. At most, it can only recommend or suggest what to do with the landfill,” he said.

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