Environmentalists seek the immediate closure of the open dump in Mapandan, Pangasinan

(File photo) Daniel Alejandre. Image © facebook.com

THE EcoWaste Coalition, an environmentalist and public health watchdog, recently asked the government to close the illegal municipal dumpsite in Mapandan, Pangasinan following mounting concerns by local residents.

Reacting to the environmental and health concerns raised by residents of Barangay Primicias in Mapandan town, the EcoWaste Coalition, early this month, asked the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to close the open dump and order its proper clean-up and rehabilitation.

“We look forward to the immediate issuance of a cease and desist order directing the Office of Mayor Gerald Glenn Tambaoan to halt open dumping in Barangay Primicias and to abide by the requirements of R.A. 9003,” wrote Daniel Alejandre, EcoWaste Coalition Zero Waste Campaigner, to DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu and DILG Secretary Eduardo Año.

The open dump does not fit the good image of Mapandan, which is considered as one of the ‘cleanest, safest and greenest’ municipalities in Pangasinan,” he told Cimatu and Año.

According to reports reaching EcoWaste, the open dump is being operated in contravention of Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, which, among other requirements, bans the establishment or operation of open dumps.

R.A. 9003, particularly Section 37, requires the closure of open dumps by February 2004 and controlled dumps by February 2006.

Open dumps such as the one that operates in Mapandan is, as per R.A. 9003, “a disposal area wherein the solid wastes are indiscriminately thrown or disposed of without due planning and consideration for environmental and health standards.”

Based on the information received, the open dump was once a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) that degenerated into a filthy dumping ground attracting flies and emitting unbearable stench.

Mapandan open dumpsite. Photo by EcoWaste Coalition

“Community residents are worried they will get sick or contract diseases due to the unlawful operation of the open dumpsite,” the EcoWaste Coalition said.

The open dumpsite is located not far from residential houses, an elementary school and a secondary school.

R.A. 9003 provides for a comprehensive and eco-friendly approach to managing discards mainly through waste prevention, reduction, segregation at source, reuse, recycling and composting, excluding waste incineration.

“The law emphasizes waste avoidance and volume reduction through the adoption of best practices in ecological waste management and definitely not open dumping,” Alejandre noted.

As of the posting of this story, the DENR and the DILG has yet to act positively with Alejandre’s letter.

 

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