Trash hauling: Like in 2016, City Council to add funds

 

LIPA CITY—An additional budget to cover the spending shortfall for hauling and dumping trash in Lipa City may be the temporary solution to elude uncollected garbage that remain the city’s eyesore.

The current City Council of Lipa (taken from the official Facebook page of the city council)

The current City Council of Lipa (taken from the official Facebook page of the city council)

Councilor Avior Rocafort said the councilors are once again “trapped” in a position where they had no choice but to approve the executive department’s request for additional on garbage collection. Or else, the wastes will pile up and Lipa City would be left to stink in the absence of a contracted hauler.

The new trash hauler, 7MG Hauling Services Philippines, Corp. said the P35 million the city council allotted for hauling is “insufficient.” 7MG reasoned that the firm pays dumpsite fees of P2 million monthly to a private disposal facility in San Pedro, Laguna.

“This (additional budget) is just a short-term, immediate solution to a problem that’s already there. What we’re really after is the long term solution. We’ve been spending a lot for garbage collection… P32 million last year (2016), now P35 million. How many years have we been paying for garbage hauling,” an exasperated Rocafort said.

“If we combine all the money that was spent for collection then we would have had our own garbage program right now.”

The contract with former hauler RC Bella Waste Management and Disposal Services expired last December 31, 2016.

It was only late January that 7MG Hauling Services Philippines, Corp. was announced as the winner of the January 17 bidding.

Prior to the bidding, tourists and residents had noticed the sight and stink of uncollected garbage across this bustling city that’s some 20 kms. south of Manila.

Much to tourists’ and residents’ dismay, piles of trash remain stuck and stinking for days in various subdivisions and barangays here, dating back to December 2016 and January this year. Instead of decreasing in number, the trash kept piling up and nobody even bothered to properly dispose them.

Netizens were abuzz, posting several pictures of uncollected wastes specifically in the areas of General Luna Street in Barangay Sabang and San Nicolas Street in Barangay Balintawak, a pick up point near Guadalupe Subdivision in Barangay 1. Residents even called out government officials for their alleged inaction.

But 7MG President Manuel Guarin told councillors it had hauled 93 truckloads of trash even if the firm had not yet signed the contract with the city government.

Appropriating for additional expenses for solid waste management, on top of the price for the contracted firm, also happened last year. The city government paid P28 million to RC Bella last year, and then appropriated another P4 million last November 2016 to cover for the expenses incurred in garbage collection.

So, building a sanitary landfill may be the ideal solution. However, City Environment and Natural Resources Officer (CENRO) Ricardo Libon told the City Council’s Committee on Environment the landfill is “no longer an option.”

Putting up a sanitary landfill involves a bigger budget to purchase land, and develop the facility, which may take at least four years. The landfill will only be operational on the fifth year, he claims, Libon explains.

“What we really need right now is waste-to-energy,” Libon said, though no specifics were given.

In the city’s 10-year Solid Waste Management Plan (2016-2026), the CENRO enumerated a host of problems on solid waste management. These are increasing solid waste generation; minimal practice of waste segregation; inefficient collections and transport; indiscriminate dumping and burning of waste; lack of enforcement of RA 9003 in barangays; lack of materials recovery facilities (MRFs); inefficient information dissemination campaign; lack of solid waste facility and public indifference; and attitudinal problem of residents.

In an interview with The Filipino Connection, Libon said that his office’s primary goal right now is to revive their education campaign for waste management.

They also want to reduce the volume of waste generated in the city by promoting recycling. The CENRO has started to meet with barangays to revive the inactive barangay solid waste management committee to implement the city’s “No Segregation, No Collection” ordinance (City Ordinance No. 7, s. 2004).

Under the ordinance, biodegradable and non-biodegradable trashes would be put in separate garbage bags and brought straight to the MRF where these could be recycled and re-used.

Not all of the 72 barangays of Lipa have an MRF, though. The Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 (Republic Act 9003)  required the establishment of MRFs in barangays, subdivisions and various institutions.

In that case, only the residual wastes generated by households will be collected by the city government’s private hauler and brought straight to the sanitary landfill. Oher forms of waste will be recycled and reused.

“At the end of the day, the people must change their mindset when it comes to garbage,” Libon said. “Right now, they only see trash as wastes when in fact there are many other uses for these.”

 

 

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About MARLON ALEXANDER S. LUISTRO