Surigao opens waste treatment facility

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews/15 June) — Surigao City is yet to pass an ordinance that would guide the local implementation of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 or Republic Act No. 9003, but it has already unveiled early last week its modern, multimillion waste recycling facility.

Mayor Ernesto Matugas led city officials during the grand opening of the waste segregation plant at Barangay Silop last Tuesday, where he underscored the importance of protecting the environment by reducing waste.

RA 9003 puts the responsibility of solid waste management on local governments.

But now that the city has partly complied with the law by having its own recycling plant, Mayor Matugas said residents should be more responsible on garbage disposal by segregating waste.

The facility, however, cannot yet operate fully because the rules governing waste segregation have not been put in place.

“As of now, the city has to pass the Solid Waste Management Ordinance so that we can enforce it but this cannot be done right away,” said City Councilor Christopher T. Bonite, chair of the committee on environmental protection.

Among the key provisions of the would-be ordinance are the proposed increase in garbage collection fees and the introduction of monthly collection fee for every household in the city proper.

Bonite said he has yet to call a public hearing on the proposed law.

Matugas meanwhile urged the academe to help the city in its campaign to inculcate in the youth the value of waste segregation.

“Experts said every person produces 300-500 grams of garbage daily. You can just imagine how much waste we have to manage even for a small city like ours with more than hundred thirty thousand people,” he said.

Elmer C. Tecson, acting department head at the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (ENRO), estimated that the city produces 25-30 tons of garbage every day. This does not include waste coming from far-flung villages and island barangays in the city.

German national Gunnar Kassberg, the city’s project consultant on the waste treatment facility, told MindaNews that it would ensure that waste from households and other establishments is treated and reduced to protect water supply in the city.

“The idea behind it is to keep the environment safe as possible and to reduce the impact of waste we generate, reduce the impact on environment and to our health and basically, reduce the impact of waste to our water system,” Kassberg said. (Roel N. Catoto/MindaNews)