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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Landfill closure puts Central Luzon in garbage crisis

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The government’s plan to close the largest waste disposal facilities in Central and Northern Luzon before the end of the year has raised fears of a massive garbage crisis in the two regions.

Local government leaders, business and industries and economic zones are set to stage a protest rally against the plan of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority to close down the Kalangitan sanitary landfill in Capas, Tarlac.

BCDA and unit Clark Development Corp. (CDC), the principal proponents of the 25-year contract with Metro Clark Waste Management Corp. (MCWMC), are not inclined to extend nor renew the agreement that expires in October. The government said engineered sanitary landfill builder and operator MCWMC should immediately cease its operations.

Local government officials first raised their alarm during a meeting called by the National Solid Waste Commission, where the Environmental Management Bureau of Region 3 reported the planned closure of Kalangitan waste disposal facilities as advised by CDC officials. Central Luzon alone is home to 12 million people.

Front line officials of the environment offices of several local government units of Regions 1, 3 and the Cordillera Administrative Region wrote a petition letter to Environment Secretary Ma.Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga and the regional officers of the National Solid Waste Management Commission (EMB-1 and 3) to stop the planned. They warned of a widespread environmental and health crisis once the big waste disposal facility in Central and Northern Luzon regions is closed.

The petition cited the Kalangitan facility as “an integral part to our regional waste management system handling more than 4,000 tons of wastes daily and being the only sanitary landfill of its size in the region that fully complies with the environmental standards mandated by Republic Act 9003… ”

“The closure of this facility threatens to precipitate literally overnight, a severe waste management crisis throughout 3 Regions in Luzon directly affecting millions of its populace,” the letter said.

The environmental officers of local government units in the three regions also expressed their concerns over the “absence of comparable alternatives, as other facilities are either not fully capacitated, non compliant with RA9003, too small or financially unfeasible or not affordable for their respective local governments.”

The proposed plans of the BCDA and CDC to convert the existing sanitary land fill into other use, such as tourism oriented development, is seen by many as irresponsible, disruptive and counter-productive.

MCWMC’s sanitary landfill in Kalangitan caters to over 120 local government units in Central Luzon and a few key cities and provinces in Northern Luzon.

Waste disposals of nearly all households, business establishments including malls, hospitals, industries operating in cities and provinces in Central Luzon are being served by the Kalangitan landfill.

Major economic zones like Subic and Clark are both dependent on the presence of an efficient waste disposal facility for their large quantity of households and industrial wastes.

The Kalangitan sanitary landfill can easily accommodate 4,000 to 5,000 tons of daily household, industrial and institutional wastes at a lesser cost to local governments. It is far more efficient than the more expensive landfill in Floridablanca, Pampanga.

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