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Where Cebu City’s wastes go

August 02,2016 - 12:22 AM

When the Inayawan landfill gates close at 4 p.m., another group of Department of Public Services personnel take over to level piles of wastes dumped by the city’s garbage trucks. CDN PHOTO/TONEE DESPOJO

When the Inayawan landfill gates close at 4 p.m., another group of Department of Public Services personnel take over to level piles of wastes dumped by the city’s garbage trucks. CDN PHOTO/TONEE DESPOJO

Inayawan landfill reopened as city gives waste segregation another go


Amid challenges of lack of garbage trucks and unpaid salaries of some garbage collectors, the new administration of the Cebu City government started fully implementing the “No Segregation, No Collection policy” last July 31.

Councilor Margarita “Margot” Osmena revived the waste segregation policy when she assumed as acting mayor last June — a policy that was not strictly implemented during former mayor Michael Rama’s term.

Why did it fail?

Councilor Osmeña said the failure of the garbage segregation program during Rama’s administration was mainly because of the absenteeism of the garbage collectors.

She said the problem should not be blamed on lack of equipment but on the management of existing personnel.

Osmeña, during her month-long stint as the acting mayor, ordered the re-implementation of the no segregation, no collection policy on June 28 as a preparation for the landfill’s reopening on the following day.

Based on Osmeña’s memorandum, the city’s garbage will now be classified as biodegradable, recyclable, residual, special waste and plastics, and should be stored separately.

Garbage collectors and loaders are instructed to collect biodegradable wastes, such as crop peelings and food scraps, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

Residual wastes are scheduled to be collected on the mornings of Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.

Collection of ‘special waste’ such as batteries will be every Wednesday afternoon. That leaves plastic garbage to be collected every Saturday.

DPS personnel have been directed not to collect unsegregated garbage from non-compliant households and commercial establishments during its full implementation on July 31.

Half-baked policy

But Samuel, a garbage collector who earlier complained of not being paid for his services for four months, said that even if they would already get paid, this would not be an assurance that program implementation would work.

On July 26, eight garbage trucks lined up along the access road of the Inayawan Sanitary Landfill for their turn to dump the mixed refuse they collected that morning under the scorching noon sun and the towering piles of garbage, which were as high as a three-story building.

Samuel was patiently waiting in line to unload the trash that his team had collected at Barangay Pasil during the day.

Trucks lining up at the landfill’s access road is a common sight from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. as DPS personnel stationed at the dumpsite are tasked to inspect and weigh the garbage collected by every truck.

For Samuel, the city government’s order to strictly follow the No Segregation, No Collection policy remains a half-baked plan.

“The policy is ambiguous. We just came from Pasil and the trash there were not segregated, and were even littered on the streets,” he said in Cebuano.

He has been working as a truck driver and garbage collector for two years already assigned in Barangay Pasil. But nothing has changed in the city’s waste collection since.

Samuel said that Pasil Barangay Environment Officers (BEOs) already advised garbage collectors to stop accepting garbage that were not segregated based on the classifications.

BEOs have also been going around the barangay to post red color stickers with the city’s No Segregation, No Collection reminders, but no one seems to be following this, he added.

Full implementation

Newly appointed DPS chief Roberto Cabarrubias said they had put their mitigation measures to action while work had been in progress to finalize preparations for the full implementation of the city’s No Segregation, No Collection policy.

These included installing pipes beneath the large pile of trash as gas ventilation at the Inayawan landfill. Data and observations gathered by the DPS showed that the huge volume of methane gas present underneath poses a hazardous threat.

Cabarrubias said they also have to ensure the safety of users of the 15-hectare landfill.

“We created a road made out of crushed limestones to have a systematic and safer way of dumping trash. Garbage trucks enter, drive on through the road, and will be instructed to dispose the garbage on a particular area. Back then, they just dump here and dump there – everywhere. It’s risky,” he said.

The sanitary landfill is operational from six in the morning to 12 midnight daily. Every day, gates are open at 7 a.m. to allow garbage truck to come in, and gates are closed at 4 p.m.

But closure of the landfill’s gates does not mean that work also stops in the area by then.

When the trucks leave, landfill personnel then bring out their heavy equipment and start leveling the day’s dump.

“They flatten and evenly distribute the trash around and this will help on controlling flood water and prevent any landslide,” Cabarrubias added.

The Inayawan Sanitary Landfill was opened in 1998 and was only supposed to last for seven years. It was ordered closed by former mayor Rama in January 2015.

With the landfill closure, City Hall diverted garbage disposal into a private landfill facility located in Barangay Polog in Consolacion town.
City hall spent P700 per ton of garbage disposed in 2015.

Cabarrubias said reuse of the Inayawan landfill was only expected to continue in the next four years while the city government looks for means to take care of its garbage.

Initially, there have been plans for the city to set up a new landfill somewhere in southern Cebu.

“As we’ve said earlier, re-opening the Inayawan dumpsite is feasible only for two to four years while we’re finding concrete ways to manage the disposal of the city’s garbage,” Cabarrubias said.

“I cannot provide further information on our proposal to open a new dumpsite aside that non-biodegradable trash in Inayawan will be mined out and transferred there,” hesaid./ UP Cebu Intern Morexette Marie Erram

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TAGS: garbage, Inayawan landfill, trash

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