BAMBANG, Nueva Vizcaya: In an effort to improve and strengthen this town’s ecological solid waste management (SWM), the municipal government here opened on Thursday a P65-million sanitary landfill (SLF) in Aliaga village, the first of its kind in Cagayan Valley (Region 2).
Mayor Pepito Balgos said waste segregation should start at source for the facility to last as he challenged village officials to be forward-looking, to always consider the future of the children and to ensure the protection of public health and the environment.
“The establishment of this solid waste facility only shows the municipal government leadership’s seriousness in the enforcement of environmental laws,” he added.
On September 6, the first SWM meeting led by Balgos was participated by 25 village officials, and representatives from business establishments and educational institutions.
“We conducted the meeting to brief them of the duties and functions of the board as well as discussed suggestions and recommendations on the strict implementation of solid waste management, and issues in the collection and disposal of garbage,” Balgos said.
Citing Republic Act (RA) 9003, or the “Ecological Solid Waste Management of 2000,” Balgos said local government units (LGUs) had to ensure the protection of public health and environment, and were mandated to be primarily responsible in the implementation and enforcement of the law within their respective jurisdictions.
He said RA 9003 mandates LGUs to construct, operate and maintain waste disposal sites, thus the establishment of this town’s sanitary landfill that was initiated by former mayor Flaviano Balgos.
Lawyer Antonio Abawag, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region 2 executive director, said this was the first of its kind engineered waste management facility in the region.
He said engineered waste management served as a final disposal site for solid and residual wastes, providing a leachate management system, while solid waste is being stored for the decomposition process takes place. The process protects underlying groundwater against contamination.
“These engineered facilities also prevent air pollution and diseases,” Abawag added.
Meanwhile, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu congratulated this municipality for coming up with an SLF to address its solid waste issue.
Cimatu said there was a great need for a place to properly dispose of garbage without any risk to public health “because, whether we like it or not, garbage will always be with us and its volume will increase correspondingly with the growth of the population of this progressive town of Bambang.”
The Environment secretary also reminded local officials there must also be a conscious effort to change the culture of insensitivity and indiscretion among people.
“Conceiving and enforcing ways to keep our surroundings clean will be futile as long as some people and entities remain thoughtless and wanton in the disposal of their wastes,” Cimatu said.
Abawag hopes that other municipalities will follow suit in properly managing their solid wastes to achieve a cleaner environment.
“We have also been regularly conducting river and estero (waterways) cleanups with our stakeholders,” the DENR official said.