Landfills only worsen garbage woes, Aquino told
WE ARE saddened that President Aquino has apparently bought into the misdirected notion that landfills are a necessary solution to our garbage woes. In reality, landfills are a “quick fix, band-aid” remedy that can only bring about bigger and worse problems down the road. We are deeply concerned that the President’s speech praising the Urdaneta Landfill during its inauguration in Pangasinan would spark a rush among local governments to build even more landfills—with catastrophic consequences to public health, our ecosystems and the climate.
Landfills are a major source of methane, a very potent greenhouse gas (GHG) with 25 times more climatic impact than carbon dioxide. Rather than promote these GHG-emitting toxic facilities, we should make them obsolete.
Landfills also undermine the implementation of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Law or Republic Act 9003. Since these are capital-intensive facilities, operators require increased dumping of waste to recover their capital and operational costs through tipping fees and other charges. Moreover, most—if not all—landfills continually violate the law by dumping mixed wastes. Under the law, landfills are allowed (not “required” as some mistakenly claim) as disposal sites strictly for residual wastes.
RA 9003 rightly calls for waste reduction, segregation at source, intensified recycling and composting, and the phasing-out of nonenvironmentally acceptable packaging and products that will eventually make zero-waste possible. This is the “daang matuwid,” the genuine and sustainable solution that will save energy, conserve our resources, and protect our health, climate and environment.
Just the construction of the Urdaneta landfill cost more than P200 million. Much less than that cost would have been enough to fully implement ecological solid waste management in Urdaneta City and move Urdaneta forward to become one of the model zero-waste cities in the world.
Sadly, no city—or country—will ever be green and sustainable by building landfills that only serve to promote overconsumption and wastefulness, devastate the environment, and exacerbate climate change
co-chair, Task Force Landfills,
Unit 329 Eagle Court Condominium,
26 Matalino St., 1100 Quezon City
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