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Clean up EMB-NCR, Lopez urged

/ 12:14 AM February 24, 2017

This refers to the news story about the order of Environment Secretary Gina Lopez to close the Payatas dumpsite while Frederika Rentoy, head of Quezon City’s Environment Protection and Waste Management Department (EPWMD), is appealing for its extension (“Gina set on Payatas landfill closure,” Metro, 1/21/17).

Congratulations, Secretary Lopez for the order. I pity the residents of Payatas, as well as those of subdivisions close to their community. Because of the dumpsite, they are exposed daily to health risks and endure the foul odor of garbage from QC and other Metro Manila cities illegally dumped in Payatas.

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My daughter and her family, who are living in the vicinity of Payatas, are among the affected residents. They suffer from colds, cough, skin problems and asthma, especially her two children. That goes for the children in other nearby communities who also suffer from foul dumpsite odor, while waste effluents seep into the water table, possibly finding their way to the La Mesa Dam and Balara Filtration System, which provide us our drinking water. Water and air pollution from the dumpsite can affect even areas far from QC.

The QC garbage business has been a huge source of corruption. Insiders say a very influential member of the QC Bids and Awards Committee, which screens business proponents, has favored dump truck contractors. However, go around QC, especially at nighttime up to early morning, and you will see mixed garbage, a lot of these in banned plastic bags of all sizes, on main roads, inner streets, sidewalks, bridges, markets. Open burning of unsegregated waste is rampant. What is QC’s waste (mis)management department doing, and where are the environment police?

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As for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Secretary Lopez should clean up the Environmental Management Bureau-National Capital Region (EMB-NCR). This office gives the environmental compliance certificates (ECCs) to dumpsite and similar businesses in Metro Manila. Why is the Payatas dumpsite still there if, as Secretary Lopez said, it contaminates La Mesa Dam and nearby bodies of water? What gives?

A former head of the powerful EMB, also approved the ECC for the Payatas dumpsite. Other offices and officials are also to blame for the existence of illegal dumpsites. These officials, according to the news, have a pending writ of kalikasan case with the Supreme Court (“SC grants plea to stop Payatas landlfill operation, expansion,” Inquirer.net, 9/7/15).

Secretary Lopez, I, my family and our friends support your order to close the Payatas dumpsite this March. No more extension please. Let the axe fall where it should. I also call on Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, a mother too, to investigate officials of QC’s EPWMD, EMB-NCR and the National Solid Waste Management Commission, a former official of the EMB, a QC garbage collection contractor and their cohorts. I heard that corruption at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources starts with “permitting.”

MARISSA S. REAL, [email protected]

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TAGS: dumpsite, Environment Protection and Waste Management Department, letter, Letter to the Editor, opinion, Payatas, Quezon City
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