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The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is looking forward to a greater collaboration with sanitary landfill (SLF) operators to improve the management of solid waste in the country.

“We always extend a welcoming hand to those sectors willing to work with us to solve our country’s problems particularly those that concern our environment and natural resources,” said DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu.

“Solid waste management is a concern for all Filipinos and anyone willing to do a good turn is appreciated,” Cimatu said.

According to Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units (LGUs) Concerns Benny D. Antiporda, the members of the Solid Waste Management Service Providers have expressed their agreement to work more closely with the agency during the 3rd consultation meeting at the DENR Central Office in Quezon City on January 22.

The pronouncement of the SLF operators to unite is a big step in doing their part to take care of the environment, he pointed out.

"This is business on your part. But we want to be assured of that when you operate sanitary landfill, you are compliant”, Antiporda said during the recent combined face-to-face and teleconference meeting with the SLF operators.

Antiporda instructed the SLF operators to submit regular reports to the DENR-Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) to monitor the trash disposed by LGUs in their sanitary landfills.

By doing this, he said, the DENR will easily determine if the LGUs are still disposing their solid waste in open dumpsites, which is strictly prohibited under Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

"In this way, we will not just solve the solid waste management problem of the country but we will protect the environment for the benefit of the Filipino people," Antiporda pointed out.

A total of 233 open dumpsites are still operating in the country. The most number of open dumpsites are in Western Visayas (48 dumpsites), MIMAROPA (35), Central Visayas (27), Bicol region (23), and Davao region (20).

Meanwhile, there are already 189 established sanitary landfills in the country. The top five regions with the highest number of sanitary landfills are in CALABARZON (36), followed by Cagayan Valley (35), Ilocos region (33), Northern Mindanao (18), and Central Visayas (15). ###