EcoWaste Coalition Backs Renewed Efforts to Close Down Garbage Dumps in Keeping With R.A. 9003

The EcoWaste Coalition has thrown its support behind the renewed efforts by the environmental authorities to enforce an important but much violated provision against dumping under Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, which took effect in 2001.

Together with the Cavite Green Coalition, the group welcomed the law enforcement action conducted yesterday, January 14, by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) against a privately-owned dumpsite in Tanza, Cavite as the nation observes the Zero Waste Month as per Proclamation 760.

Benny Antiporda, DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Unit Concerns and Nilo Tamoria, Executive Director of the DENR Environmental Protection and Enforcement Task Force led the closure of the private dump at Barangay Sahud Ulan that was also witnessed by Tanza Mayor Yuri Pacumio and other government and non-government representatives, including the Cavite Green Coalition.

“Twenty-one years after the law took effect, our country is still swarming with open and controlled dumpsites in clear violation of R.A. 9003.  We therefore support the renewed efforts by the authorities to shut down these blatantly illegal disposal facilities and promote compliance to waste prevention and reduction regulations enshrined in the law,” said Jove Benosa, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

Section 37, Article 6 of R.A. 9003 prohibits the establishment and operation of open dumps for solid waste disposal upon the effectivity of the law in 2001.  It directs local government units (LGUs) to convert open dumps into controlled dumps by 2004, and further stipulates a ban on controlled dumps by 2006.

“The polluting operation of the privately-owned dump in Tanza, Cavite has been the subject of numerous complaints by concerned citizens for quite some time now.  We join them in celebrating their victory in getting the illegal dump padlocked for good,” said Ochie Tolentino, Coordinator, Cavite Green Coalition.

“Harmful emissions and releases from the closed dump will remain a threat to human health and the environment, so we urge the residents and the local government authorities to ensure that measures are undertaken toward the proper closure, cleanup and rehabilitation of the dump,” she added. 

Tolentino also asked the authorities to extend employment and/or livelihood assistance to waste pickers and their families affected by the dump closure.  

Additionally, Tolentino urged LGUs that still allow the operation of dumps in their areas of jurisdiction to 1) decentralize waste management down to the barangay level; 2) enforce source segregation in each and every household; 3) implement ‘no segregation, no collection’ policy’; 4) establish and operate materials recovery facilities (MRFs) in every barangay or cluster of barangays; 5) close, clean up and rehabilitate dumpsites; and to 6) put in force the ban on open burning and other prohibited acts under R.A. 9003.

“With the participation of all stakeholders and the adoption of essential waste prevention policies such as banning single-use plastics and other non-environmentally acceptable products and packaging, we will be able to build and grow Zero Waste cities, municipalities and barangays in our country,” the Cavite Green Coalition and the EcoWaste Coalition said.