Garbage Crisis Overrides Legal Concerns

The environmental impact of our garbage crisis far surpasses any legal arguments presented by the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA). There are several options available, such as extending, renewing, or rebidding contracts. Landfills are not like other investments; they are crucial for public health and safety. This raises significant concerns about the closure of the Kalangitan landfill in October. In a crisis, you don’t change strategies midway. While exploring new sanitary landfills is commendable, why shut down the well-established Kalangitan landfill? In fact, existing clients, including LGUs and hospitals, achieve a 98 percent success rate in payments, thanks to the outstanding performance of Metro Clark Waste Management. Instead of eliminating a major landfill, we should focus on decentralizing our waste management and while developing alternative sites to handle our large amounts of garbage. This issue should not be driven by profit, but by the need to protect public health and the environment.

Closing a sanitary landfill at this time is inadvisable for several reasons. First, it poses significant public health risks. Without a reliable disposal site, waste could accumulate in urban areas, increasing the risk of diseases and pest infestations. Additionally, the environmental impact could be severe, as improper waste disposal practices such as illegal dumping or burning of garbage might become more common, harming the environment. Existing alternative facilities may not yet be ready to handle the volume of waste managed by the Kalangitan landfill, leading to operational inefficiencies and environmental hazards. Economically, closing the landfill could lead to increased waste management costs due to the need to transport waste to farther locations or invest in new infrastructure. Local communities also depend on the jobs and economic benefits generated by the landfill, so its closure could result in job losses and economic downturns. Moreover, changing waste management strategies abruptly can disrupt continuity of operations. A phased approach that allows for the development of new sites while keeping the existing landfill operational ensures a smoother transition and maintains service reliability. Effective waste management requires long-term planning and stability, and closing a well-functioning landfill without fully developed alternatives could undermine strategic waste management plans. Therefore, maintaining the operation of the Kalangitan landfill while developing additional facilities and exploring new methods is crucial for ensuring public health, environmental protection, and efficient waste management.

SBMA, LGUs Sound Alarm on Kalangitan Landfill Closure

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and Central Luzon officials are urging the government to evaluate alternative landfills proposed by the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) before the Capas, Tarlac landfill closes in October. SBMA Deputy Administrator Armina Belleza Llamas warned of significant environmental impacts from the Kalangitan landfill’s shutdown, emphasizing SBMA’s commitment to its waste disposal contract until 2025. The closure threatens Region 3 and beyond, requiring coordinated action.

San Fernando Mayor Vilma Caluag stressed the need for government assessment of new landfill sites, noting that developing a BCDA-proposed site could take a year. Capas Mayor Roseller Rodriguez called for environmentally compliant alternatives to avoid a waste crisis. Over 100 LGUs in Central and Northern Luzon have petitioned to delay Kalangitan’s closure, highlighting its crucial role. Hospital waste handlers also warned of a health crisis if the closure proceeds. Currently, MCWM manages 4,000-5,000 metric tons of waste daily at the Capas facility.

The government must urgently evaluate landfill alternatives to prevent environmental, health, and logistical crises, requiring a proactive and sustainable waste management approach.

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