DENR says rehabilitation of closed dumpsites now in the hands of local governments

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DUMAGUETE City, capital of Negros Oriental province, closed its 35-year-old dumpsite earlier this year while a facility for recyclable materials was opened in July. A sanitary landfill is also planned for construction in the area where the material recovery plant is. The city government has allocated about P100 million over the last three years for the waste management plan, including the closure and rehabilitation of the dumpsite, and the purchase of land and setting up the recovery and recycling facility. — DUMAGUETECITY.GOV.PH

LOCAL governments now face the responsibility of rehabilitating the dumpsites closed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in compliance with the country’s solid waste management law.

“After our successful feat to close dumpsites all over the country, I would like to reiterate to our concerned LGUs (local government units) to ensure that all systems and engineering measures are carried out in their rehabilitation plan to prevent negative impacts and risks to the environment,” DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said in a news release on Sunday.

The DENR officially closed all 335 operating open dumpsites in the country in May.

Mr. Cimatu acknowledged the cooperation and support of local governments in the long-overdue program.

However, he stressed that the work of LGUs is not over as they have to implement their respective safe closure and rehabilitation plans.

“Closing the dumpsite is just the first step… (LGUs) have to proactively implement rehabilitation because it is a requirement for closure,” Mr. Cimatu said.

Under Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, open dumps for solid waste should have been converted into “controlled dumps” within three years of the law’s effectivity. The controlled dumps should have been closed within the succeeding two years.

The waste management law mandates the country, with LGUs at the forefront, to “adopt a systematic, comprehensive and ecological solid waste management program.”

A DENR administrative order issued in Sept. 2006 sets the guidelines for dumpsite closure and rehabilitation.

Under the guidelines, LGUs or contracted private operators can undertake the rehabilitation based on the local government’s approved solid waste management program. — Bianca Angelica D. Anago