Greenpeace statement on the construction of the San Mateo landfill

Press release - January 18, 2009
Hundreds of bikers representing civil society and environmental groups today staged a 9 kilometer bike rally from Maarat Road in San Mateo to the Nuestra Senora de Aransasu Church to call on the Rizal Provincial Government to halt the construction of a dumpsite in Barangays Maly and Guinayang in San Mateo, Rizal.

Greenpeace Southeast Asia Toxics Campaigner Beau Baconguis said:

"Greenpeace strongly opposes the construction and operation of a landfill in the municipality of San Mateo.  San Mateo is located within the Marikina Watershed Reservation and the larger Laguna Lake Water Basin.  Any waste facility located within the municipality therefore poses serious pollution threats to the groundwater sources and surrounding river systems such as the Marikina River which feeds into Laguna Lake.

"Establishing a sanitary landfill within the Marikina watershed will severely compromise the water quality of surrounding water sources and Laguna Lake as well as the health of communities that depend on them. Even so-called 'sanitary landfills' create toxic leachates which escape into the environment and contaminate air, soil and water.

"The San Mateo landfill clearly flouts Presidential Proclamation No. 2146 which declares watershed reserves as environmentally critical areas, as well as section 40e of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Law (Republic Act 9003) which states that the location of a landfill must not 'detrimentally affect environmentally sensitive resources such as aquifer, groundwater reservoir or watershed area'.

"Greenpeace is therefore calling for an immediate stop to the construction of the San Mateo waste facility as an urgent and much needed step to protect the country's dwindling freshwater resources. What is needed is for waste reduction, segregation at source and recycling, as mandated in the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, to be seriously implemented in order to address the waste issue and the need for landfills eliminated."

Other contacts: Beau Baconguis: Toxics Campaigner, Greenpeace Southeast Asia, Mobile No. +63 917 8715257.

Notes: Within the Mt. Mataba and Marikina Watershed headwaters flow and natural springs abound. These springs are important sources of drinking water for the communities in San Mateo and surrounding barangays. As they are in the direct impact area, San Mateo and adjacent communities are bound to suffer from water contamination of their groundwater and springs. Laguna Lake is seen as an alternative source of drinking water for Metro Manila. A current contract already allows water from the lake to be drawn for Muntinlupa City's domestic use. The Laguna Lake Development Authority has publicly declared the need to improve the water quality of the lake for domestic supply and finds garbage dumps incompatible with that plan. In 2005, a Supreme Court ruling closed down the first San Mateo landfill in Pintong Bocaue, the arguments solidly against its operations citing environmental and health risks among others.