Nalzaro: Why push for the landfill’s rehabilitation?

Bobby G. Nalzaro

I DON’T see the reason why the “former political has-been” is persistent in rehabilitating the Inayawan Sanitary Landfill when it already reached its lifespan. The Cebu City Council has appropriated PP52.4 million for the rehabilitation work with the following breakdown: P35.2 million for the construction of a perimeter fence; P10 million for the recovery of the three hectares landfill service area; P3.4 for the rehabilitation of the facility causeway; P780,000 for greening and vegetation activities and P3 million for other related expenses and for the installation of a new weigh-bridge scale.

The Court of Appeals has ordered the permanent closure of the landfill following the filing of a petition for a Writ of Kalikasan by Councilor Joel Garganera. Experts from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) called the area an “environmental bombshell” as its design no longer conforms with the requirements of a sanitary landfill. The Department of Health (DOH) said that the landfill posed health hazards to the residents nearby.

Based on the program of works and in the breakdown of the expenses, the appropriated amount is not justifiable. Why appropriate that amount when there is no feasibility study on the landfill’s future after its rehabilitation. The “former political has-been” said that he would want the remaining trash incinerated and used as alternative fuel for the proposed waste-to-energy facility that will occupy at least five hectares of the entire 15.4-hectare dump site. The rest of the area will have to wait for a rehabilitation plan that will be drafted by the provider tapped by the city government.

But what will be the process in this waste-to-energy facility? Will it be environmentally friendly? Because he is talking “incineration,” which is banned. How much would the city be spending for the entire process, and will it be income-generating? For how long will the operation be? The “former political has-been” already admitted that the city might have to spend for it. You see, he is embarking on something that is without a feasibility study.

The City should abandon it and look for an area where a sanitary landfill that conforms with the necessary requirements can be constructed. Instead of rehabilitating the landfill, why won’t the City spend for its conversion to something that would benefit the public in general? After the Payatas dumpsite in Quezon City was closed, the local government unit converted part of it into a low-cost housing project area for the informal settlers. Why won’t we follow the Payatas development?

With his persistent push for the rehabilitation of the Inayawan landfill, I can smell something fishy in the sinister plot. Maybe the “former political has-been” sees “gold” in it. Mao ba ni giingon nga bisan sa basura naay kuwarta?