‘No to landfill in Palayan’

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    PALAYAN CITY – “Never as long as we stand!”

    Thus declared a group called Concerned Citizens Committee (CCC) on the planned establishment of a two-hectare sanitary landfill in a hilly village of Imelda Valley here on Saturday.

    CCC leader Benjamin Catada alleged that deceit even attended the contract between the city government of Palayan and private firm Ecosci Corp. for 20-hectares while the Environmental Compliance Certificate issued by the Environment and Management Bureau provided for only 2,000 square meters or two hectares.

    “So, ano’ng diprensiya” he asked.

    An Ecosci official has said the  difference was the result of a typographical error, an explanation which Catada’s group would not buy.

    Catada said his group was concerned over reports that nothing can stop the project, which is reportedly designed to accommodate residual waste from the entire province of Nueva Ecija.

    “Sabi nila e hindi raw mapipigil dahil may kontrata na e tingnan natin. Kami, habang kami’y buhay no na no kami, hindi kami papayag na magkaroon ng basurahan dito,” he said.

    The CCC, he explained, was open for a sanitary landfill which would accommodate only wastes from this city.
    “We agree with RA 9003,” he said referring to Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.
    The group, on the other hand, has found an ally in Gov. Aurelio Umali who said this city is not suited for the sanitary landfill because of its size.

    “I am not in favor na magkaroon ng ganun kasi maliit ang Palayan,” the provincial chief executive said, saying the garbage problem in Nueva Ecija has to be addressed comprehensively.

    Instead of this city, Umali sees the outskirt municipalities of Gen. Tinio and Cuyapo as more feasible places for the landfill. There had been studies for Gen. Tinio and Cuyapo, he said.

    This city hosts the provincial capitol and other facilities such as sports complex, the Nueva Ecija Convention Center, a province-run college and a government-run hotel, among others. It also houses the Home For the Girls, a sanctuary for victims of abuses under the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

     Residents also fear that the wastes residues would contaminate sources of water and affect their health.

     But Ecosci in a statement said the sanitary landfill, officially called Eco-Palayan Project, is an answer to the recurring problem of climate change.

     ”Indeed, the idea of climate change, pollution and environmental crisis can be immobilizing,” the statement says, “but we should not be complacent by thinking that we cannot make difference.”

     The project, according to Ecosci, can accommodate residual wastes of up to 800 tons. “The project will be fully equipped with high density polytethelyne liners to prevent leachate seepage into the ground, a state of the art waste water treatment facility, a materials recovery unit to ensure that all recyclable wastes are recovered and separated from residual wastes.”

    “The project will also have a landfill gas control and recovery system which will allow the treatment and conversions of landfill gases into usable energy,” it added.

    The CCC, however, is also concerned about the volume of garbage that the landfill has to process daily in order to be feasible. The amount, according to Catada, is equivalent to 73 truckloads a day.

    Mayor Romeo Capinpin who represented the city government in the deal reportedly vowed to be strict on the entry of wastes.

    “E papaano kung sa 73 na ‘yun ay hindi makapasa yung sampu o lima o anim o dalawampu, e di mai-stock diyan sa Cabu? Ano’ng mangyayari?” Catada said noting the condition poses danger to residents of adjoining areas. Cabu is a village of Cabanatuan.

    But worse, he said, the trucks of unwanted wastes will be allowed to sustain the voluminous requirement to keep the landfill operating.

    Under the agreement, the city government as the lessor will lease the facility to the lessee (Ecosci) for a 25-year period renewable for another 25 years at a cost of P700,000 per year. However, this could be increased to P1 million per year when the daily waste disposal has reached 73 trucks per day for 30 consecutive days. 

    The agreement also stipulates that an expansion area of another 20 hectares will be provided for the landfill project.

    Ecosci is expected to start groundwork next month.

    Roddy Ian Gaurano, organizational development executive of Ecosci said there had been appropriate public hearings for the landfill project.

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