KALIBO’S DUMPING SITE IS SERIOUS ENVIRONMENTAL THREAT
by Odon S. Bandiola
Unless drastic remedial measures are undertaken, the threat to the environment being posed by the dumping site of Kalibo can worsen further. It will endanger the health and lives of people living nearby, to include schools’ population operating near its vicinity.
This surfaced in a committee hearing conducted by the Committee on Environmental Protection of the Aklan Sangguniang Panlalawigan on Monday, September 8, 2014.
The SP committee conducted an inquiry into the matter when the Sangguniang Barangay of Old Buswang furnished the body of its resolution addressed to local officials of Kalibo seeking for the immediate closure of the said dumping site. Kalibo’s dumping site is located at the adjoining barangay of Bakhaw Sur, along the Sooc River, an extension of the Aklan River.
Not only residents of the two barangays are affected of the persistent emission of foul odor from the dumping site but also commercial and institutional establishment operators and students near the area.
Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Ivene D. Reyes of Aklan stressed that LGU Kalibo maybe liable for several violations in the operation of the dumping site. Since 2006, the DENR ordered the LGU to start the safe closure procedure for the dumping site. But until now, it is yet to be implemented.
The foul odor to be temporarily and immediately remedied, spraying of chemicals on the dumpsite must be done at once, but safe closure procedure must be started right away, the DENR Aklan emphasized.
Engr. Jessie Fegarido of Kalibo’s Municipal Economic Enterprise Development Department, said safe closure procedure will start next week with the construction of the perimeter fence of the said dumping site expected to be finished within one month.
Portion of the concrete enclosure of the dumping site had been damaged while holes were bored at the undamaged portions facing the Sooc River which caused emission of the waste fluids into the river.
Former Congressman Allen S. Quimpo feared that the naturally grown marine resources in the nearby 250-hectare mangrove eco-park are already affected by the pollution of the river.
Adorada Reynaldo, Solid Waste Management Officer of Kalibo explained that the safe closure procedure can never be successful until wastes segregation is strictly enforced on Kalibo’s households.
Both Fegarido and Reynaldo expressed their exasperation over their difficulty to obtain budgetary appropriations for its P20 million needed to fully implement the safe closure of the dumping site.
PENRO Reyes informed the committee that DENR has already identified a 12-hectare area in Castillo, Makato, Aklan which can be developed into a sanitary landfill site for Kalibo’s garbage and that of the neighboring towns west of Kalibo like Numancia, Makato, Lezo and Tangalan.
But Reyes said this will take about one year for the area to be ready to recieve the wastes of these towns. /MP