Put up of 3 MRFs in Baguio proposed

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The City Council approved a resolution authorizing Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong representing the local government to enter into a memorandum of agreement with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) in the Cordillera represented by its regional director Ma. Victoria V. Abrera for the construction of materials recovery facilities (MRFs) in Bakakeng Central, Guisad Central and Irisan barangays in the city subject to established conditions.

Section 32 of Republic Act (RA) 90003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act provided that there shall be established a materials recovery facility in every barangay or cluster of barangays wherein the same will be established in barangay-owned or leased land or any suitable open space to be determined by the barangay as well as the same shall allocate a certain parcel of land for the MRF.

Further, the MRF shall receive missed waste for final sorting, segregation, composting and recycling and that the resulting residual waste shall be transferred to a long-term storage or disposal facility or sanitary landfill.

Earlier, the EMB-CAR and the local government have agreed to bind themselves to collaborate in the efforts for the implementation of the objectives of the law, particularly in the upgrading or operations of MRFs, proper segregation at source and the segregated collection policy.

Under the agreement, the local government shall provide the spaces where the MRFs will be constructed; provide the technical assistance for the sustainable operation of the said facilities, conduct the needed information and education campaign to convince residents to properly dispose their generated waste among other prescribed functions.

On the other hand, the EMB-CAR will provide the required funds for the construction of the 3 MRFs that were committed by the agency in the 3 barangays, provide the required technical assistance for the realization of the project, train the personnel who will be tasked to operate the facilities among other duties and responsibilities that may arise from the operation of the facility.

The put up of MRFs in the different barangays is one of the identified interventions under the provisions of RA 9003 to effectively and efficiently address the solid waste disposal of various local governments aside from working on the put up of disposal sites for residual waste.

Under the provisions of the law and related rules and regulations, local governments are mandated to close the operation of their open dumpsites and replace the same with engineered sanitary landfills and controlled dump facilities within the period of ten years for the protection of the health of the people and the preservation of the environment in their areas of jurisdiction.

However, majority of the local governments in the country were not able to comply with the stringent regulations on the put up of engineered sanitary landfills and controlled dump facilities because of problems on the identification of suitable lands for the said purpose and that they had been issued numerous warnings by concerned government agencies in charge of implementing the pertinent provisions of the law.

Some local officials had been already charged by the concerned government agencies before the Office of the Ombudsman for their alleged failure to comply with the pertinent provisions of the solid waste management law.

By Dexter A. See