The worsening solid waste condition in the country needs to be urgently addressed as Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu now bats for the easy and inexpensive operation of sanitary landfill. Sec Cimatu wants to allow more local government units (LGUs) to set up their own solid waste management facilities.

          Cimatu instructed DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Unit Concerns Benny Antiporada to “review and revise” DENR Administrative Order (DAO) 2001-34 or the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 9003, to build and improve sanitary landfills among LGUs in the country. This will further address solid waste disposal concerns by encouraging the practice of recycling, composting, collecting and transferring of wastes to be processed in solid waste management facilities.

          “Only ten (10) percent of concerned LGU’s nationwide have sanitary landfills two decades after RA 9003 was enacted,” Cimatu pointed out as he gave his marching orders to officials and employees of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) during his traditional “New Year’s Call” at the Central Office in Quezon City, recently.

          “Make the establishment and operation of a sanitary landfill simpler and less costly without sacrificing the main objectives of proper solid waste disposal, which is to prevent leachate from going to waterways,” Environment Secretary said as he delivers his marching orders.

          Although a lot of LGUs find it difficult to comply with the law of building and maintaining a sanitary landfill due to its complexity and it is also expensive. There are options however, like adjacent municipalities or cities should cluster and pool together their resources to establish a sanitary landfill. They can avail of government loans particularly offered by the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) under its green financial program if they’re out of funds to build a sanitary landfill. They could come up with a scheme to pay the loan by collection of tipping fees.

          A sanitary landfill is a solid waste management facility using an engineered method of waste disposal where waste are buried underground or in a large pile being controlled and monitored. The bottom of the landfill has network of plumbing, serves as collection system for liquids to avoid leakages of leachates from the landfill that harms the waterways. LGUs are bound to comply operation of landfills in the cities and municipalities under the Republic Act of 9003 or the Ecological Waste Management Act of 2000.

           “Our Department will continue to strictly implement environmental laws and sustain the gains of all environmental programs and projects for the protection of public health and the environment,” said DENR 6 Regional Executive Director Francisco E. Milla.

          Ecological Solid Waste Management is the 3rd of the ten (10) priority programs of DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu.