LABELLA ALLAYS GARBAGE CRISIS AS CITY ATTORNEY BARES HIGH COLIFORM IN THE WELL NEAR THE BINALIW LANDFILL

Binaliw landfill

CEBU CITY, PHILIPPINES- Mayor Edgardo Labella allayed fears of a garbage crisis in the city. He said that the private hauler of the city’s garbage Jomara Konstruckt Corp. could still dispose of their collected waste in the Binaliw landfill temporarily as the local government will still make a bidding on the private hauler that will handle the city’s garbage disposal.

The Mayor however clarified that only the city’s garbage will be allowed in the facility run by ARN Central Waste Management Inc. and the wastes from other local goverment unit’s are not. “If Jomara cannot really find the final disposal site, we will allow them to dispose of garbage in Binaliw but they are not allowed to accept garbage from other local government units.

The Mayor cannot really allow Binaliw to operate as a landfill because the health concern is of general welfare [sic] and the area is not really fitted. There are also 39 violations cited by different agencies involved,” Labella said in a press statement.

The Mayor said that he is calling all the city’s 80 barangay captains on Wednesday, July 24, to discuss garbage concerns. The city government has earlier terminated the P65 million contract that the previous administration had entered into with ARN Central citing health and environmental concerns, among others.

That, as City Attorney Rey Gealon bared that a high coliforrm level in a dug well near the landfill site was discovered by the Department of Health (DOH) in the region which makes the water unsafe for drinking. “On June 28, 2019, the Central Visayas Center for Health Development of the Department of Health took a water sample from a dug well in the hill-side perimeter of the ARN landfill situated between the creek /or wide open canal and the national road.

The water sample was subjected to microbiological testing and failed to meet the standards for safe drinking water: The standard for total coliform is less than 1.1 but the water sample from the dug well near the landfill had total coliform greater than 8,” a part of Gealon’s legal opinion to Labella stated which was obtained by iNews.Ph.

Gealon bared several other violations which makes the facility of ARN Central not really fit for a landfill, among them, that Binaliw is classified in the zoning ordinance as a “rural residential area.” The city lawyer also cited the complaints of the Binaliw barangay council and the group called Protect Binaliw Movement which alleged the intolerable odor; Increase in upper respiratory illness of residents near the landfill area, misrepresentation because during the so-called Public hearing, the project was a Material Recovery Facility (MRF) but in reality, it is a landfill and the Increase in the number of vectors, flies and other disease carrier organism.”

Atty. Gealon also said the Binaliw landfill violates the Philippine Environment Code (PD 1152) as its site traverses a stream that is tributary to the Butuanon River as Binaliw is part of the Butuanon River Watershed. The lawyer also mentioned that medical doctors who are residents near the landfill site were part of the complainants as they denounced the putting up of the facility.

The Binaliw landfill cannot also fit according to Gealon because Binaliw is classified as a “rural residential area” in the City Zoning Ordinance, mentioning the several residential subdivisions which also included an international school apart from some commercial establishments within the area.

“Premises considered, a waste to energy facility, instead of landfill operations, is highly recommended in the area,” Gealon said in his legal opinion. “Should they operate a wte facility, I believe the city may throw its garbage there considering its accessible location and cost-benefit advantage,” Gealon told iNews.Ph.

The Cebu City government in its termination of the contract with ARN Central said it will allow the company instead to finish their construction of a Waste to Energy (WTE) facility./AAJ