BAGUIO CITY, June 6 (PNA) -– Even though the Court of Appeals has issued a Writ of Kalikasan over Mount Santo Tomas, the Environmental Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Cordillera (EMB-DENR-CAR) sees the proposed dumpsite of Baguio City as being “feasible”.
This was revealed by Helma Aboy Thursday, Environmental Management Service (EMS) specialist on lands, when asked about the status of the application of Baguio City for an Engineered Sanitary Landfill (ESL) which is proposed in a 137-hectare lot at the foot of Mount Santo Tomas.
The lot is owned by the city and is located at Apugan Village of Barangay Loakan bordering Tuba town of Benguet Province.
Aboy said after conducting an ocular inspection of the site last March, the EMS found the area “feasible” for a controlled dumpsite, adding they have been looking for a win-win solution between the need of Baguio for a place to process and dump its garbage, and to protect the interest of residents of the area.
“We have to face the fact, we [Baguio residents] need a dumpsite where we can manage our garbage and at the same time preserve the environment,” Aboy said.
Currently, the Baguio City government is paying millions of pesos every month in hauling and tipping fees to bring its garbage to ESLs in Capas, Tarlac and Urdaneta City, Pangasinan.
Aboy explained that the proposed 137-hectare site will be converted into a multi-purpose area for the city’s waste programs and projects.
“It can accommodate the needs of the city not only for its solid waste but for other purposes related to waste treatment,” she added.
Only 50 hectares of the area will be converted into an ESL, a place to set up a bio-gas plant to convert waste into energy, as well as a an area for other technologies which can process the city’s wastes.
“We have also identified the lot to be alienable and disposable and outside the forest reservation of Mount Santo Tomas,” Aboy reported.
There are sporadic dwellings found on the area by informal settlers, but Aboy assured that their rights will be respected.
Although the EMS has found the area to be a feasible site for Baguio’s solid waste needs, this does not mean that its conversion can begin immediately.
According to Alex Luis of the EMB-CAR, his office will still conduct further investigations before the city government can apply to use the area for its intended purpose.
“There are other studies which need to be done like an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), which is the basis for granting an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) before actual conversion can be implemented,” Luis stressed. (PNA)