Irisan dumpsite-turned-eco-park eyed as Baguio’s newest attraction

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The Irisan dumpsite-turned-eco-park is being eyed as the city’s newest attraction.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong said the area which has been covered by a Writ of Kalikasan since 2012 has been significantly improved albeit more ground work has to be done to totally transform it into an eco-tourism park.

“At present, it is showing a lot of promise and has the potential to become part of our attractions in the city,” the mayor said.

This early, the city is planning to open it to the public for appreciation with the guidelines now on the drawing board, he added.

The mayor said the transformation had impressed Environmental Management Bureau-Cordillera Regional Director Ma. Victoria Abrera who promised to recommend to the Supreme Court the lifting of the writ which mandated the closure of the over five-hectare dump facility.

He said part of the improvement work in the area is the construction of a sewerage treatment plant to address the leachate problem in the area.

“It is still a long way to go but we are happy that the transformation which I promised at the start of my term of office amid the lack of enthusiasm of some was achieved with the help of the community and our good team from the city government,” the mayor said.

The high court issued the Writ of Kalikasan following the avalanche of tons of garbage from the decommissioned dumpsite at the height of Typhoon Mina in 2011. Heavy rains caused tons of garbage to cascade down Asin Road and up to Tadiangan, Tuba leaving six people dead.

While the city government stopped using the area as dumpsite earlier in 2008, the mountain of garbage remained until Typhoon Mina battled the city in 2011 causing a trash slide.

The city government exerted efforts in cleaning the trash slide as well as hauling out of stocked piled mix waste in compliance with the order of the court for a Safe Closure and Rehabilitation Plan as required under Republic Act No. 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

Mayor Magalong said as a long-term solution, the city government envisioned turning the decommissioned dumpsite into an ecological park.

He immediately inspected the decommissioned dumpsite in July 2019 upon taking his seat as local chief executive. He promised that in his term as mayor, the stench smell of the area will be addressed and the dumpsite turned into an eco-park.

The City Engineering Office prepared the technical and engineering development plan for the ecological park with the construction of path walks and bamboo huts, while the City Environment and Parks Management Office helped in the regreening works initially planting vetiver grasses for slope stabilization.

Ongoing improvement include a parking space for future visitors since the city government plans to open the area to the public once rehabilitation efforts have been completed.

Presently, thriving greenery on terraces can be seen with recyclables utilized as planting materials along available areas.

The project to transform the former Irisan dumpsite to a park costs more than P17M with 175 calendar days to complete.

While the city government continue to use a portion of the area for the operation of its Environmental Recycling System (ERS) machines – turning biodegradable waste into compost fertilizer – the stench of garbage has been eradicated overtime.

Records from the General Services Office (GSO) states that the ERS is processing a maximum of 50 tons of biodegradable waste daily –half of these are generated from vegetable waste at the public market.

Mayor Magalong also noted that the usual recyclables in neighboring houses’ rooftop have been cleaned following his directive for them to clear their stacks of recyclable wastes. – Aileen Refuerzo and Jessa Samidan, Photo by Neil Clark Ongchangco

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