Mayor Benjamin Magalong announced during his second day of office that the temporary closure order of the Irisan dumpsite facility which houses the Environmental Recycling System (ERS) was lifted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources- Cordillera Regional Office.
The city though has to comply with certain conditions that include all accumulated stored mixed waste materials or raw compost mixed with plastics are hauled out of the area; that all equipment or machines to be used in converting raw compost into organic fertilizers are installed and operationalized; that only biodegradable wastes are collected in the area; and that no residual waste is stored in the area. All of these shall be complied with not later than July 31, 2019.
Moreover, the conversion of the Irisan dumpsite into an environmentally-friendly eco-park should also be finished not later than December 31, 2019.
The Court of Appeals ruling dated August 10, 2012 ordered the closure of the Irisan dumpsite following a trash slide in August 2011 that killed five people. The dumpsite was then used to process biodegradable waste out of the city’s daily trash.
Last June 26, the DENR issued a temporary closure order to the City LGU for its failure to implement the transformation and establishment of an environment-friendly eco-park at the Irisan dumpsite area, and the stoppage of all activities which may hamper, defeat or contradict such.
On the city LGU’s failure to convert and establish the area of the Irisan dumpsite into an eco-park, General Services Office(GSO) head Eugene Buyucan explained that the Irisan Dumpsite Eco-Park Development Plan has been submitted to the Court of Appeals on April 24, 2019. Funding, amounting to P10, 000,000 has been allocated by the City Government of Baguio for the implementation of such. However, the plans could not be immediately push through due to accumulated raw compost in the area and the fact that the soil therein is loose. It has to be made sure that the soil is stable before the plan for an ecological park in the area is implemented.
The DENR-CAR issued relief of the TRO effective July 1, 2019 in view of the city government’s word to comply with the Court of Appeals ruling.
Magalong said that the city government thru the GSO will continue to collect biodegradable wastes from the households including the central business district and the market area to ensure the cleanliness of the city.
He called on the people of Baguio to learn to segregate and learn to compost their own biodegradable wastes at their households to lessen the wastes being collected and processed by the ERS machines in Irisan. “People should learn to segregate and the composting process, dapat matuto na din ang mga tao,” Magalong said.
Baguio City generates 50 metric tons of biodegradable waste in a day, a waste assessment and characterization survey showed. According to the new contractor of the ERS machines, the Rapport Innovations, about 30,000 metric tons of biodegradable waste had accumulated at the decommissioned Irisan dump site since the facility stopped operating. (JDP/RMC- PIA CAR)
By Redjie Melvic M. Cawis