OPEN DUMPSITES CLOSED. Officials of the Environmental Management Bureau in Central Visayas mount a closure notice in front of the open dumpsite in Barangay Luyang, Carmen, Cebu after the actual padlocking of the gate on Monday (Jan. 25, 2021). The EMB-7 also simultaneously served a closure order to another open dumpsite in Guindulman town in Bohol. (Photo courtesy of EMB-7)

CEBU CITY – Two open dumps in two separate municipalities in Cebu and Bohol have been ordered closed for environmental violations, the Environmental Management Bureau in Central Visayas (EMB-7) said on Monday.

In a statement, the EMB-7 said cease and desist and closure orders were simultaneously served against the municipalities of Carmen in northern Cebu and Guindulman in the western side of Bohol for operating “open dumpsites”.

“Open dumpsites have been prohibited by law after the passage of Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000. Sanitary landfills remain the primary long-term method of solid waste disposal allowed under the said Republic Act,” the statement sent to media said.

Engr. Cindylyn Pepito, EMB-7 information officer, said DENR-7 officials discussed with Carmen Mayor Carlo Villamor the contents of the cease and desist order in a meeting with him and his department heads prior to actual closure.

They also met with Guindulman Mayor Maria Fe Piezas to inform her of the violations.

Pepito, however, said environment officials also discussed “possible options for proper disposal and next steps to be taken to be able to comply with the DENR mandates”.

The EMB-7 will provide technical assistance to these LGUs as they try to manage their municipal wastes comprehensively and properly in adherence to the DENR standards, she said.

Because of the order, the municipalities are no longer allowed to dump any type of waste materials.

“The concerned LGUs have long been advised to conduct immediate rehabilitation of the area following the general guideline stipulated in the Safe Closure and Rehabilitation Plan (SCRP) of open dumpsite and controlled dump facilities stipulated in Department Administrative Order No. 9, series of 2006,” the statement read.

It said the EMB-7 communicated to the officials of Carmen since 2018 about their violations.

The first closure order was issued in March 2018 and another letter was sent in March 2020 “reiterating the closure of their dumpsite and resubmission of their SCRP but still to no avail”.

The EMB-7 noted that the open dumpsite in Carmen is situated beside the Luyang River in Barangay Luyang, a source of potable water for the town and neighboring local government units in Metro Cebu.

Meanwhile, a semiannual compliance report was sent to Guindulman municipality on March 3, 2020 directing them to immediately cease and desist from operating its dumpsite, and further directing it to implement its SCRP.

On April 1, 2020, follow-up inspection was conducted by EMB-7 to determine compliance.

“It was found out that respondent continued to operate its dumpsite and no closure and rehabilitation undertakings has been conducted despite the CDO issued by the office,” the EMB-7 said. “Sufficient time has been given to the respondent by EMB-7 but unfortunately, respondent failed and continued to ignore the CDO issued”. (PNA)