BONTOC, Mountain Province – The municipal government continuously strengthens its solid waste management initiatives as it recently opened its P5.4-million engineered sanitary landfill located at Am-ancho, Barangay Bontoc Ili of this capital town.
Sanitary landfills are engineered facilities that serve as a final disposal site for residual wastes providing a leachate management system simultaneously storing solid waste while the decomposition process takes place thus, protecting the underlying groundwater against contamination. These facilities also prevent air pollution and diseases.
The first and the only sanitary landfill of its kind in the province, Mayor Franklin Odsey assured that it will allow safe and sanitary disposal of garbage generated in the capital town, specifically from the four central barangays.
Odsey remarked that Bontoc as the center of commerce, trade, and education and the seat of the municipal and provincial offices and national government agencies, it is inevitable that the garbage volume will increase correspondingly as the population grows, thus, the engineered sanitary landfill in Am-ancho is necessary and the right place to dispose of the garbage properly without any risk to public health.
Municipal Government Assistant Department Head Roger Agcapen of the Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office (MENRO) said that the new sanitary landfill would only cater to residual wastes.
According to Agcapen, the sanitary landfill has one cell and measures 500 square meters wide and three-meter height.
He explained that the sanitary landfill used high-density polyethylene resin (HDPE) liner to prevent any leachate leakage that might contaminate the environment. Also, gas vents are in place to ensure that there will be no build-up of methane gas in the landfill. The leachate from the landfill will be directed to the wastewater treatment facility to ensure that only clean and safe water will be released back into the environment.
Agcapen added that vegetation will be done once the engineered sanitary landfill reaches its target lifespan of years.
Relative to this, he appealed to the public to practice segregation at the source to ensure that only the residual waste shall be deposited at the engineered sanitary landfill.
Meanwhile, for the biodegradable wastes, it will be processed in the composting facility while the recyclables will to go the Materials Recovery Facility and junkshops. The bottles will be processed as eco-blocks as bottle crushers, plastic shredders and hollow block makers are in place at the Am-ancho Solid Waste Management Facility.
Per record from the MENRO, the four central barangays of Bontoc produces an estimated one ton of biodegradable wastes per day and 20-cubic meter of residual wastes per week.
Third-termer Odsey, who will be ending his term as mayor on June 30, 2022, expressed his gratitude to all stakeholders and the community for their all-out support in solving the garbage problem in the capital town.
Odsey shared the struggle of Bontoc in finding a solution to the garbage problem. He recalled how the filing of the Writ of Kalikasan against Bontoc in August 2012 for its open dumping of waste along the Chico River in Sitio Matoytoy-ok, Barangay Caluttit has challenged the municipal government and how the Court of Appeals ordered the closure and rehabilitation of the dumpsite. Odsey, together with the members of the Sangguniang Bayan, had just started their term that year. They barely had two months to plan, prepare and rehabilitate the dumpsite and find means of waste disposal.
The filing of a case against Bontoc and the closure of the town’s dumpsite challenged the municipal government to come up with plans and programs to address the garbage problem and solid waste management. The 10-Year SWM Plan will not only cater to the central barangays comprising Poblacion, Bontoc Ili, Caluttit, and Samoki; but to Riverside cluster (Barangays Bayyo, Talubin, Bontoc and Tocucan), ALBAGO consisting Alab Oriente , Alab Proper, Balili and Gononogon, and Upland cluster (Barangays Guina-ang, Mainit, Dalican, and Maligcong).
To minimize the generation of residual waste, the Sangguniang Bayan passed Municipal Ordinance No. 212, s. 2013, in December prohibiting the use of plastic bags for dry goods, regulating its utilization on wet goods, and prohibiting the use of styrofoam.
Likewise, the municipal government took the lead in firmly implementing the Ecological Solid Waste Management System such as segregation at source, segregated collection, the establishment of Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs), and other recycling and composting methods.
With the support of the community, the municipal government instituted programs with the goals of closing the decades-old dumpsite and instilling a new sustainable paradigm in solid waste management. These include Oplan Pera Sa Basura Program; formation of the Bontoc Green Police; establishment of Eco-parks; Senior Citizens Eco-brick and Eco-brick Making Project; No Plastic No Styrofoam Policy and the Development of Residual Waste Processing Facility.
To heighten the awareness and participation of the public in proper waste management, the municipal government launched the “Oplan Pera sa Basura” tapping all schools in the municipality to participate. This project involved students and the faculty to collect recyclable materials such as empty plastic bottles, cans, papers, and bottles that are not being bought by the junk shops. To ensure the sustainability of the project, the municipal government has partnered with four recognized junk shop owners in the locality to collect and buy all the recyclable waste and non-saleable materials. The non-saleable materials such as broken bottles, glass, and ceramics shall be given to the municipal government for processing and recycling.
Odsey added that even with the meager and limited budget and resources of the municipal government, it strived and worked out for the procurement and development of a solid waste management facility at Am-ancho, Bontoc Ili.
The senior citizens of Bontoc even came up with a Sustainable Livelihood Project in 2015 from the P1 million budget provided by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) as start-up capital. Through the processing facility of the municipal government, plastic, and cellophanes are shredded while bottles are crushed and are turned over to the senior citizens to be made into construction materials such as eco-brick and hollow blocks. In 2016, the hollow blocks made out of the project were sold at a cheaper price to the beneficiaries of the core shelter project of the DSWD in Barangay Can-eo, Bontoc. Also, eco-bricks, hollow blocks, and glass bricks derived from the project of the Senior Citizen were used in the construction of the new municipal building and its façade. These initiatives of the municipal government in partnership with the senior citizens earned them the DSWD National Awards covering Best Regional Partner, People’s Choice Award, Most Environmental-friendly Project, and Best Livelihood for Special Projects.
Another waste reduction measure adopted by the municipality is Bottle Brick making which was participated in by schools, non-government organizations (NGOs), and the residents. The bottle bricks were being used in the construction, beautification, and landscaping of parks and other facilities.
With all of these undertakings of his administration on solid waste management, he credited it to the cooperation and support from stakeholders and the community.
Also, Odsey solicited all stakeholders and the public to give similar support to the next administration.
Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management of 2000 mandates the local governments to be primarily responsible for the implementation and enforcement of within their respective jurisdictions to ensure the protection of public health and the environment and to construct operate and maintain waste disposal sites.