Quezon City – The pollution watchdog EcoWaste Coalition challenged all concerned agencies and local government units to immediately close down all the waste disposal facilities within the Manila Bay as part of the clean-up and rehabilitation efforts to save the said water body.
“While the court is mandating all concerned agencies to act and do their part to ensure the immediate clean-up of Manila Bay, we are also calling out to our government officials to stop dumping municipal and hazardous wastes in Manila Bay and immediately shut down all existing dumps within the area,” said Romy Hidalgo, head of the Task Force Dumps/Landfills of the EcoWaste Coalition.
According to the EcoWaste Coalition, dumps continue to exist and operate along the Manila Bay and its major tributaries despite a prohibition in the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act or Republic Act 9003 to operate a dump and landfill especially in environmetally-critical areas such as the Manila Bay.
“Our government spends millions of public funds to clean-up our Manila Bay but we continously pollute it by dumping our own garbage. The clean-up effort will be futile unless we stop the source of pollution. We can start by closing down all the existing dumps and landfills,” said Hidalgo.
The ecogroup identified the Navotas Landfill and Pier 18 to be the biggest waste disposal facilities along the Manila Bay. Tons of mixed municipal wastes from Manila City and Navotas are brought to Pier 18, hauled in barges and dumped in the landfill which is located within the foreshore area of Barangay Tanza, Navotas. Tons of garbage being brought to Pier 18 has transformed the old port to a huge dump facility from which garbage escapes and scatters to the sea.
According to Hidalgo, the government should also focus its attention in rehabilitating the old but abandoned dumpsites along the shores of Manila Bay such as the infamous Smokey Mountain and former municipal dumps of Navotas, Naic in Cavite and Obando, Bulacan.
“Our abandoned dumps are continously releasing tons of toxic leachate that contaminate our water systems. We need to put up an effective rehabilitation program targeting these dumps to mitigate the harm it causes to our environment. Don't let these dumps be our monument to our childern and become lasting evidence of how badly we treated our planet,” said Hidalgo.
The R.A. 9003 has prohibited the operation of open dumps since February 2004 and controlled dumps since February 2006. The said law also prohibits the establishment and operation of sanitary landfills within environmentally-critical areas such as the Manila Bay.