By Catherine Teves
MANILA, (PNA) — The Philippine government will seek from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization funding assistance for closing open dumps nationwide.
“We’ll formally propose the matter to UNIDO next year,” said National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) Exec. Dir. Emelita Aguinaldo, warning open dumps have negative impacts on the environment and health.
She noted the closed open dumps can be developed into eco parks which are integrated facilities for waste disposal, composting and recycling.
Latest available NSWMC data as of May 2013 show the country has 35 eco parks.
Aguinaldo’s optimistic assistance from UNIDO will help facilitate the open dumps’ closure that’s often delayed by lack of local funds but which RA 9003 (Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000) requires.
Open burning there must stop as this practice produces toxic dioxins and furans which jeopardize public health and the environment, she continued.
“Studies show both substances persist in the air, water and soil, bioaccummulate and biomagnify in animal tissue and are likely cancer-causing,” she warned.
RA 9003 defines open dump as “a disposal area wherein solid wastes are indiscriminately thrown or disposed of without due planning and consideration for environmental and health standards.”
“No open dumps shall be established and operated, nor any practice or disposal of solid waste by any person, including LGUs, which constitutes the use of open dumps for solid wastes, be allowed after the effectivity of this Act,” notes RA 9003.
Effectivity of RA 9003 commenced in early 2001.
Data from NSWMC show some 581 open dumpsites exist in the country.
Experts already warned the greenhouse gas called methane from garbage in such dumps accumulate in the atmosphere, raising global temperature that drive climate change.
RA 9003 also provides that “within three years after effectivity of this Act, every LGU shall convert its open dumps into controlled dumps, in accordance with the guidelines set in Sec. 41 of this Act: Provided, further, That no controlled dumps shall be allowed five years following the effectivity of this Act.”
Controlled dump is a disposal site at which solid waste is deposited in accordance with the minimum prescribed standards of site operation, notes RA 9003.
NSWMC data show 331 controlled disposal facilities exist nationwide.
Aguinaldo said NSWMC will develop criteria for identifying LGUs with open dumps that’ll be prioritized for closure with UNIDO’s help.
NSWMC aims coming up with the criteria this year, she noted.
This week, NSWMC and UNIDO representatives visited Quezon City’s Payatas area, the former open dumpsite which authorities upgraded to a controlled facility first then a sanitary landfill later.
Authorities brought in technology which converts waste there into energy to help meet electricity needs of Payatas residents, Aguinaldo said.
“The UNIDO representatives were impressed with what they saw in Payatas during our visit there – that project can be replicated,” she noted.
Aguinaldo said NSWMC continues helping six LGUs close respective open dumps.
Those LGUs are General Santos City, Iloilo City, Calbayog City, Legazpi City, Butuan City and Cabanatuan City, she said.
“We’re promoting there best practices on closing open dumps,” she said.
The environment department’s DAO 2006-09 provides the protocol for closing and rehabilitating open dumpsites and controlled dump facilities nationwide.
Aguinaldo said the 2012-2016 project on closing the six LGUs’ open dumps is backed by Global Environment Facility funding assistance.