Taytay pledges best practice waste dump rehab

Feature story - June 23, 2009
The municipality of Taytay has agreed to adopt stringent procedures on dumpsite closure following a blockade by Greenpeace Water Patrol activists at the 13 hectare polluting garbage repository located on the banks of Laguna Lake.

A Greenpeace Water Patrol activist wearing a protective suit shovels trash to take samples from a dumpsite in Taytay, Rizal, a few kilometers east of Manila. Volunteers from the environment group blockaded the polluting waste dump to halt shoddy “closure” operations that will do more harm than good to surrounding communities.

Early this morning, volunteers from Greenpeace shut the gates of the dumpsite in Barangay Muzon with chains and metal bars. Scaffolds with signs that said "Stop Water Pollution! Clean Up, Not Cover Up!" were used to further block the closed gates to prevent trucks from entering. Greenpeace, together with the EcoWaste Coalition, is demanding a proper clean up of the Taytay open dumpsite, rather than the cosmetic cover up currently being undertaken.  Taytay is a two time "winner" of the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) "Nakakasulasok Award" "shameful award" for the dumpsite located right beside the lake.

After a visit to the site, and two hours of negotiations, Taytay Mayor Joric Gacula, agreed to close down the Taytay municipal dumpsite in accordance with recommendations developed by Greenpeace and EcoWaste Coalition, which improve on the superficial cover up as put forth by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.  The guidelines include the need for excavation and treatment for waste dumps located near water bodies as toxic effluents can contaminate water even after 30 years.

"The proper closure of the Taytay municipal dumpsite can only be a milestone in the protection of Laguna Lake if the other dumpsites in the vicinity follow suit.  Greenpeace is calling on other municipalities such as Angono-whose own dumpsite was also closed improperly-to also clean up their act and adopt these guidelines.  The government must realize that the commitment to reverse the severe degradation of the country's largest inland freshwater body is a comitment to safeguard the health and welfare of communities and future generations," said Greenpeace Toxics Campaigner Beau Baconguis.

"We'll be watching how the Taytay local government will carry out its commitment to close and decontaminate this waste dump.  We urge Mayor Gacula to set a precedent in holistic dump rehabilitation so that he can leave a legacy of clean and safe environment for the people," said EcoWaste spokesperson Manny Calonzo.

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