Kalibo’s Dumping Site Is
A Serious Environmental Threat
Unless drastic remedial measures are undertaken, the threat to the environment being posed by the dumping site in the Ati-atihan Town of Kalibo, capital town of Aklan can worsen further and will endanger the health and lives of people living nearby, to include students population of various learning institutions operating near its vicinity.
This matter surfaced in a committee hearing conducted by the Committee on Environmental Protection of the 16th Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Aklan recently.
The SP committee was prompted to conduct an inquiry into the matter when the Sangguniang Barangay of Old Buswang furnished the body of its resolution addressed to the 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, one of the extensions of the Aklan River.
Not only are 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 when the department ordered the LGU Kalibo to already start the safe closure procedures for the dumping site. But until now, it remains to be implemented.
DENR Aklan emphasized that for 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.
Engr. Jessie Fegarido, head 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. Is it done?
Portion of the concrete enclosure of the dumping site had been damaged while holes were bored at the undamaged portions facing the Sooc River. These 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.
Ms. Adorada Reynaldo, Solid Waste Management Officer of Kalibo explained that the safe closure procedures 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 the P20 million they need 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 to prepare the area to be ready to receive the wastes of these towns. (Editor’s note: Adopted from “The Legislator”, the official newsletter of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Aklan.) /MP