MANILA – The country may finally see the closure of all open dumpsites nationwide.
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu has ordered all the agency's Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) regional directors to step up efforts against open dumpsites in their respective areas of jurisdiction, noting that Republic Act 9003 (Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000) prohibits these facilities.
"This is my directive to them: All open dumpsites must be closed by the end of March this year!" he announced Tuesday in a message for the RA 9003's 20th anniversary celebration.
He said a review of RA 9003's implementing rules and regulations are already underway "to make way for better and bigger sanitary landfills".
RA 9003 said sanitary landfill is a waste disposal site that's "designed, constructed, operated and maintained in a manner that exerts engineering control over significant potential environmental impacts arising from the development and operation of the facility."
"Open dump shall refer to a disposal area wherein the solid wastes are indiscriminately thrown or disposed of without due planning and consideration for environmental and health standards," RA 9003 noted.
Upon assuming DENR's top post, Cimatu prioritized solid waste management as he observed RA 9003 was neither promptly nor fully implemented despite the country's increasing waste generation.
"We have so much catching up to do," he said.
No-nonsense implementation of RA 9003 already resulted in increased closure of open dumps, establishment of more materials recovery facilities and sanitary landfills as well as further development of LGUs' respective 10-year solid waste management plans, he noted.
"I'm honored to report that we have gained significant ground," he said.
The campaign against open dumps has particularly been relentless, Cimatu continued.
"As of yesterday (Jan. 25) at 7 p.m., report that reached our office indicated that we have thus far closed a total of 38 open dumpsites in the regions," he said.
Majority of regions were able to each close around two dumpsites, he noted.
"The report also states that Region IV-B was able to close 17 dumpsites while Region VI was able to close five," he said further.
Cimatu acknowledged much of such accomplishment was inspired by DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda's efforts to close open dumps in Bataan, Pampanga and Cavite provinces.
"His aggressive yet decisive move is being followed by our EMB regional directors nationwide," he said.
Antiporda assured DENR will "excellerate" or excel and accelerate efforts to implement RA 9003.
"In the next two years, we commit to work even harder," he said in his message for RA 9003's 20th anniversary celebration.
Aside from closing open dumps, he said DENR will help further promote the development of sanitary landfills nationwide, practice of waste segregation at home and improvement of garbage collection.
There'll be house-to-house campaigns as well to promote solid waste management among communities, he noted.
"Yes, we can do it!" he added. "And we must do it! Let us all manage our garbage towards a cleaner, healthier and progressive Philippines." (PNA)