Malaybalay City not fully complying with solid waste management law

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/22 June) – This city still falls short of complying with the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act or Republic Act 9003, an environment official working at the local government here said.

Ma. Anita Fernandez, officer in charge of the City Environment and Natural Resources Office noted that while Malaybalay has already complied with the requirements at the city level, compliance has remained poor at the barangay level.

She said that only 17 of the city’s 46 barangays have materials recovery facilities so far.

About 23 others have already identified sites for the material recovery facility but “they aren’t constructing yet.”

Fernandez said the city has built a P1.1-million materials recovery facility and the building hosting its P1.2-million bio-reactor composting facility. Both facilities are built on the four-hectare controlled dumpsite now being rehabilitated.

But she said that even with the recent development the city is technically still a violator of RA 9003.

The bio-reactor composting facility was funded through a P735,000 grant from the Department of Science and Technology and a P400,000 counterpart from the city government.

The DOST grant, Fernandez said, included a P150,000 plastics densifier that compresses plastics into a raw material for the production of cellophane.

Fernandez said the city government was working on the completion of the two facilities.

The facilities are right across an eight-hectare property being considered by the city government for the proposed final disposal facility, particularly a sanitary landfill.

Last year, the city government floated the possibility of building a sanitary landfill which both Malaybalay and Valencia City can use to the Korean Consortium. But the Korean firm said a landfill needs a bigger site, which is not available in Malaybalay.

Instead, they identified a site in Valencia where Malaybalay can dispose its garbage too. But there has been no word from the Korean firm since.

In February 2010, Fernandez said, they asked the Korean firm to develop the feasibility study for the eight-hectare property in Can-ayan, the site of the present controlled dump.

Fernandez admitted that they are torn between building materials recovery facilities, which is more ecological, and a sanitary landfill.

She said outgoing Mayor Florencio T. Flores Jr. preferred the first. There is still no sign if incoming Mayor Ignacio W. Zubiri will choose the same.

“If the landfill is feasible and is cheaper than the other option, then it will be a choice between the two,” Fernandez said. “But we know we always wanted the more ecologically sound choice,” she added.

She also said they are awaiting the ENRO to become a full-fledged department of the city government with a regular head of office under the new administration.

Under the Local Government Code the creation of ENROs is optional on the part of the local government units.

The City ENRO hosted the city’s monthly convocation program Tuesday in time for the commemoration of the Environment Month. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)