cdn mobile

Garbage landslide threat

April 16,2015 - 06:39 PM

inayawan landfill

A report about the imminent danger of a “garbage landslide” faced by around 70 families living at the  Inayawan landfill brings to mind  the July 11, 2000 Payatas tragedy.

At least 300 people were buried under a mountain of garbage that collapsed at the Payatas dumpsite in Quezon City, considered  the largest open dumpsite in the country.

In Cebu city, the prospect of a garbage landslide in our own smokey mountain in Inayawan was raised anew by the barangay captain.

He got worried about the stability of the heaps of trash after a contractor of a seawall project at the back of the 15-hectare landfill facing the South Road Properties started removing large rocks at the base of the moutnain without notice.

What if the towering heaps of trash collapse?

The need for relocation has been discussed off and on ever since the landfill exceeded its full capacity and was partly closed in 2005.

But the families there, immune to the stench, were considered useful on site as garbage pickers and scavengers so all that talk remained empty words.

Over the years, the community of scavengers has survived. When Cebu Daily News visited this week to ask about the risk of a landslide, several residents nonchalantly said they were used to living with garbage in the landscape.

One mother said, tongue in cheek, that the garbage didn’t even shake during the strong October 2013 earthquake.

But they wouldn’t mind relocating if it would be to a permanent home that’s safer, cleaner and with job security.

The mountain of discards has been their source of livelihood for almost two decades.

When Mayor Michael Rama finally gets around to relocating the 70 families, the move should consider not just avoiding a dramatic incident like a landslide or a storm surge, but how to improve their lives.

No way can we dismiss the occupants as “squatters”.

The scavengers have earned their keep, sorting and disposing of useful bits an pieces of what society has mindlessly  tossed out of households and establishments.

Their welfare has been overlooked far too long.

A proposed relocation site  in sitio San Isidro Labrador is being eyed but the private lot is entangled in legal complications of ownership claims of heirs.

Is there a better home waiting for them?  Considering their current habitat, the residents won’t be picky  about facilities; they are hard workers who have endured a lot.

A transfer should carefully consider the distance from their source of livelihood or if needed, viable alternatives for a new way of earning a living.

The “full closure” of the landfill last Jan. 15 presents the opportunity of dealing with Cebu city’s Smokey Mountain, hopefully with due respect for the welfare of its hardiest residents.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

Read Next

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of Cebudailynews. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

TAGS: garbage, Inayawan, landfill, solid waste management

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.