Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon Paje and Mayor Evelio Leonardia signed the Memorandum of Agreement between DENR and the City of Bacolod for the closure of the city dumpsites and for the improvements of its garbage collections from households, Thursday.
Paje signed similar agreements with five other cities, namely: Iloilo, Butuan, General Santos, Legazpi, and Cabanatuan.
The agreement signing, held at the Bulwagan Ninoy of the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau in Quezon City, was pursuant to the Integrated Persistent Organic Pollutants (IPOPS) Project being implemented by the DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau, with support from the Global Environment Facility through the World Bank.
According to Paje, central to the achievement of the objectives of the IPOPs project is to reduce release of emissions of dioxins and furans by the local government units, as they are at the forefront in the enforcement of Republic Act No. 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.
“Dioxins and furans are two of what we can say the ‘Dirty Dozen’ chemicals whose worldwide use and production are strictly covered by the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants signed in 2001 because of their long-term serious impacts on the environment and public health,” Paje explained.
“The emissions or ‘usok’ that we create whenever we burn our garbage in our backyards and also as a result of the spontaneous combustion in open dumpsites, contain these two chemicals, which according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, are likely to be cancer-causing substances to humans,” he said.
Under the agreement, the LGU shall receive a grant of US$300,000 or about P12.447 million and contribute a counterpart fund of the same amount, and use the total funds for the rehabilitation of the Bacolod Open Dumpsite after its closure.
Leonardia said the P12.447 million grant is a big thing for Bacolod because it establishes somehow that the city passed the high standards set by the National Solid Waste Management Board, in addition to it bringing to half the funds that the city will pump in to the rehabilitation of the dumpsite.
“The substantial financial grant given us vindicates the strong resolve shown by my administration to proceed with our Sanitary Landfill despite the strong opposition mounted against it by our political opponents,” he added./WDJ