Press Release
September 4, 2011

Legarda Renews Call for Full Implementation
of Solid Waste Management Law

The chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change Senator Loren Legarda today renewed her call on the government to fully implement Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 to once and for all stop disasters like the Irisan trashslide in Baguio City from happening.

The Irisan trashslide left three dead and one missing at the height of Typhoon Mina which lashed Northern Luzon last week.

"There is a clear violation of the Solid Waste Management Act, RA 9003. Open and controlled dumpsites should have been closed and replaced with sanitary landfills five years after the law's passage," the Senator said.

According to Section 37 of RA 9003, "...within three (3) years after the effectivity of this Act, every LGU shall convert its open dumps into controlled dumps, in accordance with the guidelines set in Sec. 41 of this Act. Provided, further, that no controlled dumps shall be allowed five (5) years following the effectivity of this Act."

RA 9003 was signed by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on January 26, 2001 and took effect 15 days after its publication.

According to the law, an open dump refers to a disposal area wherein the solid wastes are indiscriminately thrown or disposed of without due planning and consideration for environmental and health standards; while a controlled dump refers to a disposal site at which solid waste is deposited in accordance with the minimum prescribed standards of site operation.

A sanitary landfill refers to a waste disposal site designed, constructed, operated and maintained in a manner that exerts engineering control over significant potential environment impacts arising from the development and operation of the facility.

"This incident reminds us of the Payatas tragedy, which revealed that the way we manage our garbage not only impacts on our environment and health but can also endanger lives," Legarda said.

The Payatas tragedy which happened in the year 2000 killed over 300 people and left hundreds more homeless when a mountain of trash buried a community.

"The Irisan trashslide in Baguio should be a wake up call to local governments to implement the law at full speed, especially now that we are facing threats of extreme weather events that can trigger such environmental disasters," the Senator emphasized.

According to the website of the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC), there are still 790 open and 382 controlled dumpsite in operation nationwide right now,

Legarda also emphasized that aside from the fact that open and controlled dumpsites should have been long closed by now, "The Irisan site was also found to be highly susceptible to landslides, as indicated in the geohazard maps distributed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to the local government units."

"It is very important that LGUs study and use these geohazard maps in local planning," Legarda stressed.

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