The local chief executives of the 21 towns and two cities of Ilocos Norte have vowed to have their respective sanitary landfills operational by the end of this year.
In compliance with the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act or RA 9003, Secretary Roy Cimatu of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources met with Ilocos Norte mayors in Laoag City recently as he urged them to make Ilocos Norte a role model in terms of solid waste management.
“We can do it if we all work together.”
“Let’s make Ilocos Norte a model in full compliance of the solid waste management act. We can do it if we all work together,” said Cimatu, as he has been making rounds of the country to personally encourage local leaders to address the worsening problem on garbage collection and disposal.
The environment chief said that effective solid waste management may be expensive but LGUs are not without options. He suggested that LGUs pool their resources to set up a common sanitary landfill.
“Adjacent municipalities or cities may cluster together and pool their resources to establish sanitary landfills.”
“Adjacent municipalities or cities may cluster together and pool their resources to establish sanitary landfills,” the environment head said. If lack of funds is a problem, Cimatu said the LGUs may avail of government loans through the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) under its green financing program.
“DBP is willing to provide financial and technical assistance to LGUs in implementing environment projects, including solid waste management,” he added.
In Laoag, City Mayor Michael M. Keon reported they are currently studying alternate methods of waste segregation apart from establishing a new landfill.
“We are considering the building of a waste disposal facility that will segregate organic and biodegradable material from plastics and non-biodegradable material which can then be used to create such things as plastic, table and chairs and even generate electricity,” Keon said.
The mayor added the city’s open dumpsite in Barangay Lagui does not conform with environmental law and will be replaced with a regulated sanitary landfill in Balatong.
“It is important and only fair to state that the previous administration was already grappling with this issue hence, the choice of the new projected landfill at Barangay Balatong. The election got in the way and slowed down the conversion process,” he said.
Passed in 2000, the full implementation of the Ecological Solid Waste Management of each LGU in the entire Philippines remains a challenge due to lack of political will from some local leaders.