Thursday, 06 October 2011 15:20
Eng. Reynaldo Gonzales, chief of the Office of the City Environment and Natural Resources (OCENR) disclosed that suitable or not, the city government will still implement the Sanitary Landfill (SLF) in barangay Salaan with the introduction of engineering and technical interventions to mitigate environmental concerns.
Gonzales, who was invited in yesterday's regular council session, stressed that the result of the study made by the Mines and Geo-Science Bureau that the Salaan property is not suitable for a sanitary dumpsite will only serve as inputs for a more detailed Environmental Impact Assessment of the project.
The OCENR officer said the city government badly needs a sanitary landfill because the continued operation of the Lumbangan controlled dumpsite is in violation of R.A 9003 or the clean air act.
Gonzales said in 2006, representatives of the World Bank conducted a two-month study on all the barangays in Zamboanga City as to which barrio is the most suitable site for sanitary land fill.
He disclosed that the private agency had pinpointed that the Salaan area is the most suitable site provided that the proponent of the project will introduce mitigating measures to resolve environmental hazards in the future.
“What we are after is the technical interventions and other mitigating measures like the putting up of a treatment facility in the site to treat the water sediments and not the result of the MGB studies saying that it is not suitable,” Gonzales said.
With the prodding of the OCENR chief, the city council approved a resolution authored by Councilor Percival Ramos and adopted by Councilor Rudy Lim who was the proponent of the resolution inviting Gonzales, calling the Solid Waste Management Board to fasttrack the implementation of the Sanitary Landfill (SLF) in Salaan "provided the city government introduces mitigating measures and technical interventions to safe the environment."
Councilor Lilia Nuño authored another motion calling the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR and the MGB to conduct geological environmental assessment studies on the two lots the city government has purchased and acquired in Salaan.
However, due to several amendments introduced by other councilors, the august body decided to “lay on the table” Nuño's edict and to tackle it in next week's regular session.
Councilor Jawo Jimenez voted against the resolution for reasons that there were no feasibility studies made on the proposed landfill, the site is not suitable per MGB disclosure, DENR has not yet approved the Environmental Clearance Certificate and there are no funds yet to conduct the technical interventions.
Jimenez asked for another public consultation with the residents of Salaan to determine the people's sentiments on the issue.
Councilor Mel Sadain said he is confused why the majority approved the resolution of Ramos when there is a proposal by Nuño calling the MGB and DENR to conduct a study on the two sites bought by the government.
“We should wait for the result of the studies to be made by MGB and DENR,” Sadain emphasized.
Councilor Rommel Agan said the continued operations of the Lumbangan dumpsite opens the possibility for any individual to file a case with the Ombudsman against city officials.
Gonzales said his office needs the resolution so OCENR can move forward with the implementation of the SLF.
Councilor Jimmy Cabato said, “we have to pay the price for progress.”
By Nonong Santiago
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