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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Atienza Warns Local Execs against Open Dumps

Environmentalist din naman pala si Sec. Lito Atienza... sana pati yung sa Mt. Kanlaon ay aksyunan nila at sana ay mas matuto pa syang magpreserve ng mga heritage sites sa ating bansa. Totoo namang dapat wala talang open dumps at dapat gayahin yung halimbawa sa Rizal na kung saan ay may 100% recycling...

Atienza warns local execs against open dumps
By TJ Burgonio
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 22:48:00 06/19/2008

MANILA, Philippines -- Environment Secretary Jose Atienza has warned local chief executives they risk being charged in court if they fail to shut down open garbage dumps in their jurisdictions.

The National Solid Waste Management Commission has been sending out notices to governors and mayors whose jurisdictions continue to operate open dump sites in violation of the Solid Waste Management Act, or RA 9003, Atienza said.

“We can’t allow continuing violation of RA 9003. If after three notices, they have not complied with the law, we shall be filing charges in the courts,’’ he told a press briefing.

There are some 1,019 open and controlled dumpsites in the country, some found in the municipalities surrounding big lakes, particularly Laguna de Bay, he said.

“If you ask me if some are substantially following the law, there may be some. But if you ask me if they’re following it completely, there’s none,” Atienza said.

Central Visayas has the most open dumps, with 124, followed by Western Visayas (80), Eastern Visayas (77), Ilocos (75), Bicol (74), Central Luzon (66), Cagayan Valley (46), Mimaropa (36), Calabarzon and Northern Mindanao (35).

In an assessment report in December 2007, the Laguna Lake Development Authority said that the towns of Angono and Taytay in Rizal, and Paete and BiƱan in Laguna, were among the worst polluters of Laguna de Bay.

The four towns operate open dump sites close to the lake shore, contributing to its pollution, the LLDA said.

LLDA general manager Edgar Manda said the dump sites were ecological “time bombs’’ that could result in a tragedy of “immeasurable magnitude.’’

Atienza also lamented that the LLDA’s current clean-up of the Laguna lake was only targeting fish cages of small-time fishermen.

“My observation and the common observation of the fisherfolk is that only the small fry are being caught while the big ones are getting away,’’ he said.

For this reason, Atienza said he has instructed Assistant Secretary Mark Allan Yambao to monitor the “dismantling’’ of the fishpens on a “daily basis.’’

“We will continue to look over the shoulders of the LLDA. If they can’t do it, we will move in. We’re taking note of the glaring discrepancy in fairness,’’ he said.

Atienza commended Batangas Governor Vilma Santos for initiating the clean-up last June 12 of Taal Lake to rid it of fishpens and cages on June 12.

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