The city government of Dumaguete has allocated P3-million for a treatment facility at its open-pit dump site in the outskirts village of Candau-ay amid a closure order issued by the Environmental Management Bureau of the Department of Environment & Natural Resources.
The closure order is in line with Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, that stipulates, among other things, that local government units are no longer allowed to operate open-pit dumps and must shift to sanitary landfills.
Rolly Clamonte, chief of the Environment & Natural Resources Office of Dumaguete, admitted during a press conference Wednesday that solid waste is a big problem that the city is currently facing, although the local government is taking steps to address this.
He said that the average volume of garbage being brought to the Candauay dumpsite each day is 34 tons, which had increased from 22 tons in the past two years.
Several years ago, the city averaged 65 tons of garbage daily but the volume had decreased upon the institution of regulatory measures, said Clamonte.
Clamonte disclosed that the city government has asked the EMB-DENR for a one to two year extension period to allow enough time for the identification and establishment of a sanitary landfill.
There is no hope for a re-negotiation with local officials of Dauin town, about half an hour’s drive south of here, for a clustered sanitary landfill for Dumaguete and its neighboring municipalities, a proposal that was eyed several years ago but was rejected by Dauin residents.
According to Clamonte, they are hoping that Sibulan, the next town from Dumaguete in the north, will be able to host the sanitary landfill site.
In the meantime, the city will comply with EMB safety requirements such as establishment of a perimeter canal and gas vents at the Candauay dump and constructing a fence around it to prevent scavengers inside the site.
The city government is also procuring mechanical equipment to provide an alternative livelihood for the scavengers and their families who are currently dependent on the existing controlled dumpsite in Candauay for their subsistence, said Clamonte. (PNA//Judy Flores-Partlow)