Following a formal complaint by the EcoWaste Coalition last December 3, 2012, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) finally ordered Cavite Provincial Governor Juanito Victor C. Remulla, Jr. and Cavite City Mayor Romeo G. Ramos to act against open dumping, an act explicitly outlawed under Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.
“We have patiently waited for the DENR to act on our complaint. All eyes are on Mayor Ramos to see if he will shut down and rehabilitate the city's illegal dumpsite by the Manila Bay,” said Ochie Tolentino, Coordinator of the Cavite Green Coalition and Vice-President of the EcoWaste Coalition.
"The dumpsite rehabilitation should take into account the livelihood needs and occupational skills of the informal recyclers in the area who can surely help the city government in enforcing R.A. 9003 and in transforming into a Zero Waste city," she added.
In a letter sent by DENR Region IV-A Director Carlos J. Magno to Gov. Remulla and Mayor Ramos on January 30, 2013, copies of which were furnished to the complainant, the department enjoined the officials to address the open dumping in Barangay San Antonio, Cavite City.
Prior to sending the letter, the DENR regional office conducted on-site inspection, in coordination with Mr. Leonardo A. Notario, City Environment and Natural Resources Officer of Cavite City, to verify the complaint made by the EcoWaste Coalition et al.
As per report by the inspection team, the open dumpsite measuring about 1.8 hectares “is located at the sea and wastes could possibly extend to the sea.”
“A daily average of 19 trucks, 55-56 side cars/pedicabs and 2 carts loaded with mixed wastes are disposed of in the dumpsite from 7:00 am to 2:30 pm,” the report said.
Aside from the open dumping of mixed waste, the inspection team also reported other infringements of R.A. 9003 such as open burning of garbage, a major source of dioxin pollution.
Dir. Magno reminded the Cavite officials that R.A. 9003 forbids open dumping and open burning, and that open dumps and controlled dumps should have ceased operations on February 16, 2006.
Dir. Magno further reiterated that Cavite is within the watershed of Manila Bay and that local authorities should “cooperate in the cleaning up and rehabilitation of Manila Bay” as ordered by the Supreme Court in its landmark decision on December 18, 2008.
Last year, the EcoWaste Coalition and other green groups sought DENR’s “immediate and firm intervention” to stop illegal disposal activities at coastal cities and towns that exacerbate the pollution of Manila Bay.
The EcoWaste Coalition is a national network of more than 150 public interest groups pursuing sustainable and just solutions to waste, climate change and chemical issues towards the envisioned Zero Waste 2020 goal.