Landfill concerns

By: Editorial August 20,2018 - 10:25 PM

While the opposition bloc in the Cebu City Council may be focusing their collective energies on stalling, if not stopping the implementation of the Kawit Island joint venture deal, another project worth mentioning is the landfill facility project in Barangay Binaliw that was also approved by the council’s new majority.

The first time it was floated, the landfill project was junked by the Barug Team Rama bloc on grounds that the project raised serious health and sanitation concerns among residents in the area.

Councilor Joel Garganera in particular raised the issue of transparency by saying that the project proponent, ARN Builders Inc., supposedly applied for a materials recovery facility and not a sanitary landfill project.

Of primary importance however is the health of the communities still living in or near Barangay Binaliw and how the landfill /MRF facility will impact their immediate environment.

It had been a long standing position by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for local governments to build common landfill sites in order to house their garbage.

This meant that LGUs will agree to setting up this common landfill site and pay the corresponding amount to the host LGU that will set up and maintain operations of the landfill site.

This arrangement went into effect in Cebu City with the closure of the Inayawan landfill but the expenses of shipping the ever rising volume of garbage had made garbage disposal and transportation extremely prohibitive and ultimately self-defeating.

With the courts ruling against the reopening of the Inayawan landfill, the Cebu City government finally bit the bullet and looked for a landfill site that can accommodate the city’s mounting garbage.

The administration Bando Osmena-Pundok Kauswagan (BO-PK) bloc claim that ARN Builders Inc. will not only employ the technology and facilities that passed international standards for environmental safety but will process 92 percent of the garbage dumped there.

While these claims are subject to verification, it would have been prudent for the council not to have junked the resolution for the project outright in the first place since Cebu City needs to operate its own landfill site and not have to rely on other local governments to house its garbage.

Instead the council should have held a public hearing and invited environmental advocates and residents to air their views, concerns and input on the project especially since reports that the proposed landfill will employ waste-to-energy processes whose impact on the surrounding environment needs to be fully assessed.

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