The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has completed the closure of the 335 open dumpsites all over the country after Secretary Roy A. Cimatu ordered the strict enforcement of Republic Act (RA) 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.
Open dumpsites are those where solid waste is deposited without planning and consideration for environmental and health standards and are illegal to establish or operate, based on RA 9003.
“This is a victory for the environment and the DENR,” said Cimatu on the long overdue closure of open dumpsites.
“Despite the limitations brought about by the pandemic, our people never wavered in their sworn duty as public servants to get the job done,” Cimatu said.
Since 2017, the closure of dumpsites has been part of Cimatu’s commitment under the country’s solid waste management program.
It is also a testament of the political will of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and his administration since it is only now, 20 years after the enactment of RA 9003 in 2001, that the closure has been fully accomplished.
Section 37 of the Act prohibits the use of open dumpsites for solid waste. It states that “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 waste, be allowed after the effectivity of this Act.”
DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units (LGUs) Concerns Benny D. Antiporda said the closure of the 335 open dumpsites “completes the closure of all open dumpsites in the country.”
“This shows that the DENR walks the talk and strictly adheres to what Secretary Cimatu taught us to do,” said Antiporda who is also the alternate chair of the National Solid Waste Management Commission.
“We have shown the public that they cannot escape the long arm of the law. It will eventually catch up with them for violating any and all laws,” Antiporda pointed out.
With the closure of all open dumpsites, LGUs have the option to bring their solid waste to existing sanitary landfills (SLF) or to a residual containment area.
A residual containment area is a temporary storage of their residual wastes while negotiating a Memorandum of Agreement with another LGU operating an SLF, finalizing a contract with a privately operated SLF, or awaiting operationalization of their own SLF.
“It is important that all LGUs follow the law on solid waste management such as waste avoidance, waste segregation, recycling and composting of biodegradable wastes,” Antiporda said.
There are 237 operational SLFs in the country and 11 are under construction.
On the other hand, Antiporda, on Friday (May 21), announced the filing of cases against the mayor of Urdaneta, Pangasinan for violations in the Environmental Clearance Certificate of the town’s SLF, and the mayor of Sta Ana, Pampanga for the operation of an open dumpsite in his area of jurisdiction.
Further, Antiporda has proposed to the DENR Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) that SLFs be privately operated or through public-private partnership (PPP) to ensure compliance with all the requirements of its operation.
‘When operated as a business, return of investment is one of the critical factors that account for better management and eventual success,” Antiporda said.
According to Antiporda, all the dumpsites that have been closed down will have to undergo the Safe Closure and Rehabilitation Plan of Dumpsites, courtesy of EMB.
“Local government units may ask the technical assistance of EMB on how to conduct the Safe Closure and Rehabilitation Plan for the respective dumpsites in their areas of jurisdiction,” Antiporda concluded. ###