New "State-of-the-Art" Semirara Landfill: Perfecting a Wrong Solution

Press release - January 8, 2001
The international environmental group, Greenpeace, expressed concern about hasty plans to use former coal pits in Semirara, Antique as a "temporary landfill." The group asserted that the MMDA should be faithful to the procedures governing critical projects such as landfills.

The international environmental group, Greenpeace, expressed concern about hasty plans to use former coal pits in Semirara, Antique as a "temporary landfill." The group asserted that the MMDA should be faithful to the procedures governing critical projects such as landfills.

"There seems to be a misplaced sense of urgency in relocating waste from Metro Manila, which led to glossing over the myriad of public health and environmental issues associated with landfills. Fact is, far from being temporary, the toxic potential of landfills may persist long after these facilities are useful," said Francis Dela Cruz, Greenpeace Southeast Asia's Toxics Campaigner for the Philippines.

The group cited the results of tests done in 1999 by the Greenpeace Science Unit based at the University of Exeter in England, that showed high levels of heavy metals such as chromium, lead and copper in leachate samples from the Carmona Landfill. The group noted that it has been years since the landfill has been closed.

"The experience in Carmona and the San Mateo Sanitary Landfill are object lessons to our decision-makers about the futility of back-end approaches to the garbage crisis. The touted new state-of-the-art landfill is, sadly, a perfection of the wrong solution," Dela Cruz added.

The environmental group maintained that the way forward is for the government to adopt ecological waste management strategies that will minimize waste at the industry level, and promote composting, segregated collection and recycling at the local level.

The group likewise announced plans to reconvene the Eco- Waste Coalition to support the initiatives of Antique residents opposed to the Semirara landfill and push for the Ecological Solid Waste Management Bill, presently being considered in a Congressional bi-cameral conference in Congress. The coalition is a multisectoral aggrupation of over loo communities and organizations that opposed to "bury and/or burn" solutions to the management of municipal solid waste.

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