Environmental groups appeal to Cebu City gov’t: Solve garbage crisis

By: Delta Dyrecka Letigio - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | July 21,2021 - 10:37 AM

A notice of temporary closure issued by DENR is seen at the Inayawan Transfer Station in this file photo.

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Two environmental groups are asking the Cebu City government to already address the city’s “garbage crisis.”

Ecowaste Coalition and the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) wrote acting Mayor Rama and Mayor Edgardo Labella, who is now on medical leave, to air their concerns on the city’s worsening garbage problems.

“The garbage pileup in the private transfer station in Barangay Inayawan, the stench that reaches parts of neighboring Talisay City, and the subsequent issuance of a Cease and Desist Order (CDO) to the transfer station effective July 7, 2021, by the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB)…remind us that there is more to ecological solid waste management than collect and haul waste for disposal,” reads part of their letter.

The letter mentioned that this was not the first time that the city’s attention was called on the need to already solve its garbage crisis.

In 2019, the Commission on Audit (COA) also flagged the city’s failure to come up with an approved 10-year solid waste management plan.  The same observation was again mentioned in the 2020 Audit Report as among the audit deficiencies that the city is yet to comply with.

The environmental groups are asking city officials to immediately revisit the draft of the citys 10Year Solid Waste Management (SWM) Plan that has remained unapproved to date.  

Cebu City’s SWM plan will serve as its guide in achieving solid waste avoidance and volume reduction and in putting emphasis on the need to implement feasible reuse, recycling, and composting programs.

The two groups are also asking the city to convene the Barangay Solid Waste Management Committee (BSWMC) of its 80 barangays in order for to formulate a solid waste management program that is consistent with the city‘s 10Year SWM Plan; ensure the segregation and collection of biodegradable, compostable, and reusable wastes; and establish a materials recovery facilities (MRFs) in their respective areas or in clustered barangays.

But all these cannot be done without funding assistance from the city government.

In this letter, Ecowaste Coalition and PMCJ said the city can tap the Local Government Support Fund (LGSF) that has an estimated allocation of at least P51 million especially for the establishment of MRFs in four pilot barangays.

Barangay Kalunasan, for example, already submitted its proposal to utilize its share of the LGSF to fund the establishment of an MRF at the Osmeña Shrine under a co-management arrangement with the Cebu City government.

Aside from putting up MRFs, they also appeal for the implementation of existing garbage ordinances including the city’s garbage segregation ordinance and the need to properly dispose waste coming from COVID-19 facilities.

Lastly, the two groups are appealing for a scrap the city’s plans to establish a waste-to-energy treatment facility at the Inayawan landfill as this is not an environmentally sound method for waste treatment and disposal.  The process will produce ecologically harmful gases and by products such as dioxins and furans.

“The longer we continue with this failed approach, the bigger the financial cost for the city and the heavier the environmental and health impact it brings to our citizens, starting at the barangay collection points, continuing along routes that garbage truck traverse, until final disposal where host communities such as Barangay Binaliw residents bear the burden of land, air, and water pollution.” / dcb

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TAGS: Cebu City, Ecowaste Coalition, garbage crisis, Inayawan Landfill transfer station, Philippine Movement for Climate Justice

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