Keep Kalangitan Landfill Open

As a concerned taxpayer, I oppose the closure of the Kalangitan Sanitary Landfill, a decision by the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) that threatens our community’s well-being, economy, and environment.

Transprency. We demand full transparency from the BCDA, with comprehensive details on why the closure is necessary and its real consequences, not mere press releases and general statements. Access to public records, studies, and meeting minutes is crucial for accountability and informed decision-making. Public hearings and community meetings are vital for directly addressing our concerns. We must actively voice our opposition during public consultations by submitting detailed written comments.

More importantly, it is crucial to reveal the identities and capabilities of the companies managing the landfills in Floridablanca and Porac. According to BCDA insider information, their revised masterplan prioritizes transforming the Kalangitan sanitary landfill into a recreational area featuring golf courses, omitting it from future landfill operations. Renato Abong Tayag Jr., President of ARAW-ACI and a watershed advocate, should raise awareness about these developments.

Public Petition. A well-organized petition can show strong community support. Forming coalitions with neighbors, hospitals, clinics, and industries can amplify our voice against the closure. We must also be ready to utilize formal appeal processes to challenge this decision swiftly and effectively.

Legal Action. It’s necessary because the closure contravenes laws.

Public Welfare. The Kalangitan Sanitary Landfill is crucial for our community’s waste management. Its closure could lead to public health issues, job losses, and economic downturns. By exercising our rights to information, participation, petition, appeal, legal action, media engagement, and advocacy, we can protect our community’s interests. The closure of the Kalangitan Sanitary Landfill is a matter of public welfare, and we must stand firm to keep it operational.

Win-Win Solution: I’m not against the development of other landfills; in fact, I encourage their construction in each province, town, or city to waive tipping fees. However shutting down the Kalangitan landfill will not only increase transportation costs for LGUs and hospitals from Northern Luzon, such as Benguet, Pangasinan, and parts of Metro Manila. The Porac and Floridablanca landfills could serve as alternative sites, benefiting nearby communities by providing necessary waste management solutions while being prepared to become fully operational.

DENR Comprehensive, Balance Approach. In a report by Princess Clea Arcellaz for Sunstar Pampanga, Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Maria Antonia Loyzaga has emphasized the need for a comprehensive approach to solid waste management as the Kalangitan Sanitary Landfill in Capas, Tarlac is set to close this October.

Loyzaga’s call came after approximately 122 local government units (LGUs) from Pampanga, Tarlac, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Zambales, Bataan, Pangasinan, and Benguet requested her assistance in postponing the landfill’s closure.

The LGUs highlighted that the Kalangitan Sanitary Landfill, managed by Metro Clark Waste Management Corporation (MCWMC), plays a crucial role in the regional waste management system, processing up to 4,000 tons of trash daily.

The anticipated shutdown has also raised alarms among around 1,000 hospitals in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, and some parts of the LGUs, particularly concerning the disposal of toxic waste, which could pose serious health risks to patients and workers. This means all existing contracts between LGUs, other industries and MCWM are terminated.

Loyzaga stressed that proper coordination and strategic planning are essential to address the challenges arising from the landfill’s closure. She further noted that a balanced and strategic approach is necessary to manage the closure while ensuring compliance with environmental standards and addressing public health concerns.

The environmental impact of our garbage crisis outweighs legal arguments by the BCDA. Changing strategies during a crisis is unwise. While new landfills are beneficial, shutting down Kalangitan is not. Existing clients, including LGUs and hospitals, have a 98% payment success rate due to Metro Clark Waste Management’s performance. Instead of closure, we should focus on decentralizing waste management and developing alternative sites.

More Impacts. Closing a sanitary landfill now is inadvisable due to several concerns. It poses significant public health risks, as waste accumulation in urban areas could increase disease and pest infestations. Environmentally, improper disposal practices like illegal dumping or burning could become more common, causing harm.

Alternative facilities may not be ready to handle the waste volume, leading to inefficiencies and hazards. Economically, closure could increase waste management costs and lead to job losses and economic downturns for local communities dependent on the landfill.

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