Probe Bulacan sanitary landfill, Senate, DENR told

September 05, 2019

AN environmental group yesterday urged the Senate and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to immediately investigate the Wacuman sanitary landfill in Norzagaray, Bulacan for violations of laws and for being a threat to health.

The Alliance for Consumer and Protection of Environment (ACAPE) led by its president, Jun Braga, sounded the alarm on the irregularities of the Wacuman sanitary landfill for allegedly not following national and local environmental laws.

In letters addressed to Sen. Cynthia Villar, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources; Sen. Bong Go, chairman of the Senate Committee on Health; and DENR Sec. Roy Cimatu, ACAPE asked for help in addressing the various issues concerning the landfill.

“We are requesting your good office to look into the irregularities and violations of the Wacuman sanitary landfill located in Norzagaray, Bulacan, which directly harms both the environment and the community,” the green group said.

ACAPE said the Wacuman sanitary landfill failed to apply for permits to operate from the local governments of San Jose Del Monte (SJDM) and Norzaragay in Bulacan.

Chairman Gloria Dequito Cardona of Bgy. Paradise III in SJDM said there was no public consultation nor public hearing on the operation of the sanitary landfill.

The group said the landfill also violated Rule 14, Sec. 1 of Republic Act 2002 or the Philippine Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000,  which states that the location of the facility shall be consistent with the overall land use plan of the local government unit.

ACAPE found out that the landfill is not included in the land use plan of either SJDM or Norzagaray.

The Philippine Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 also states that the Sangguniang Bayan or the host LGU shall adopt a resolution confirming compliance with the siting, design criteria and standards that satisfy public sensitivity requirements.

ACAPE said Wacuman failed to secure a SB resolution to proceed on the operations of the landfill.

Philippines laws stipulate that a landfill facility should be located at a minimum distance of 50 meters away from any perennial stream, lake or river and that its operation will not affect environment resources, including aquifers, groundwater reservoirs, or watershed areas.

The group said Wacuman’s facilities are adjacent to a water system, which is in violation of 300-meter distance requirement under DENR Administrative Order 50,  Series of 1998.

The group likewise cited a Supreme Court en banc decision in which Bulacan LGUs were required to protect the Manila Bay.

“To our dismay, Wacuman facility is adjacent to a water system that flows within San Jose del Monte which are direct tributaries of Angat river that flows to Angat reservoir. The river and creeks that flow within SJDM, where Wacuman is situated, are direct tributaries of Angat river,” the group said.

“Among the natural waterways of SJDM are the Kipungkok, Sto. Cristo, and Sta. Maria river systems. These rivers are connected to Marilao river, a direct tributary that flows to Manila Bay.” Wacuman’s operations pollute the rivers in San Jose del Monte. Therefore, it also pollutes Marilao river that flows to Manila Bay. Manila Bay is the catch basin of several bodies of water, including Marilao river,” the group added.

ACAPE revealed that a study on the water condition in the area conducted by the CRL Environmental Corp. last February 26 revealed that the landfill brings  “reprehensible and unacceptable threats to health and environment.”