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The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is hoping that more engineered sanitary landfills will be built before 2022 to address the growing problem of solid waste managementt in the country.

According to DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units Concerns Benny D. Antiporda, sanitary landfill is the primary long-term method of solid waste disposal allowed under Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

Antiporda said that under the law, sanitary landfill is required in any LGU as a means of safe disposal of untreated solid waste or resource recovery residuals.

However, the DENR official said the number of sanitary landfills in the country remains small even after 20 years since RA 9003 took effect.

“What we need in this country is about 1,700 sanitary landfills for all the municipalities and cities. But, sad to say, we only have 108 as of the moment and this number could even decrease in the future,” Antiporda lamented.

“Napupunopoangatingmga sanitary landfill and what happens next is some might go back to open dumpsite, which is illegal under RA 9003. We will not allow this to happen,” he added.

Antiporda assured that the DENR under the leadership of Secretary Roy A. Cimatu will do everything to ensure the establishment of more sanitary landfills nationwide before the term of President Rodrigo Duterte ends in 2022.

“Dalawangtaonnalangpoperomayroon pa pokamingpwedengmagawa,” he stressed. “Sa pamunuannamanpo ng amingKalihim Roy Cimatu, isalangpoangmaipagmamalakinamin: we mean business.”

Antiporda issued the statement during a cleanup drive held at the Las Piñas-Parañaque Wetlands Park last Friday, which served as the culminating activity for the celebration of January as Zero-Waste Month.

The event was also attended by Senator Cynthia Villar, Parañaque Rep. Eric Olivarez, Philippine National Poloce Maritime Group Director Police Brigadier General R’WinPagkalinawan, and National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) Vice Chairman Crispian Lao.

Secretary Cimatu had earlier ordered Antiporda, who also chairs the NSWMC, to “review and revise” DENR Administrative Order 2001-34 or the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 9003 to make the establishment and operation of a sanitary landfill easier and less expensive.

The DENR chief noted that a lot of LGUs find it difficult to comply with the law as building and maintaining a sanitary landfill can be costly and somewhat complicated.

A sanitary landfill is a solid waste management facility that utilizes an engineered method of waste disposal, primarily for municipal solid waste. An “engineered” method of landfilling means that garbage is handled at a disposal facility that is designed, constructed and operated in a manner protective of public health and the environment. ###