Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Friday, April 03, 2009

LGUs face raps over open dumps

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is set to file charges against 50 cities and municipalities that continue to operate open dumps in defiance of an existing waste management law.

Environment Secretary Joselito Atienza did not identify the erring local government units (LGUs), but added that they would publish their names in major newspapers as part of his department’s shame campaign against violators.

Calling the LGUs “pasaway” (hard-headed) despite a law – Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act – banning open dumps, Atienza said they were ready to file the charges for negligence and non-compliance with the law. “They had two and half years to explain why still maintaining these open dumps,” he added.

When he assumed the position of environment secretary two years ago, one of Atienza’s first acts was to order LGUs to comply with RA 9003 – or face charges.

Apart from banning open dumps, RA 9003 stipulates that all LGUs must operate their own materials recovery facilities (MRF) for recycling and shift to sanitary landfills.

“President Macapagal –Arroyo is bent on enforcing the waste management law. The garbage problem is the biggest issue related to climate change,” Atienza said.

The environment secretary, on the other hand, said he was proud of 48 cities and towns around the country which follow the law by setting up their MRFs and shifting to sanitary landfills.

Atienza said they have offered incentive packages to these LGUs. “If they need technical and material help on carrying out the law, we are always prepared to extend that them,” he added.

--By. Alcuin Papa – Philippine Daily Inquirer

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