BAGUIO CITY – The foreign consultant of the city’s engineered sanitary landfill (ESL) project confirmed the $43 million fund from the Korean government purposely to help solve the solid waste management problems not only of the city but also of neighboring towns in Benguet is awaiting to be utilized once there will be a permanent site that will be identified for the purpose.
Shin Hung Ju, a Korean serving as a pro bono consultant for the city’s sanitary landfill project, said the fund was channeled through the Overseas Economic Cooperation for Development (OECD) of the United Nations that serves as the caretaker of the funds being paid by developing countries for their respective carbon credits.
“We are just awaiting the finalization of the site where the integrated solid waste management facility of the city will be built before we can access the grant for the noble project. We hope that we will now be able to settle the problem on where to establish the facility so that the project will push through the soonest,” Pastor Shin stressed.
The Korean consultant said the potential sites of the city’s integrated solid waste disposal facility was already shortlisted to the Ampucao and Antamok areas in Itogon and the city-owned 139-hectare property in Sto. Tomas School Area.
According to him, efforts are still being done by concerned local officials to convince environment officials to segregate the 21-hectare area from the coverage of the Lower Agno River Forest Reservation while negotiations are underway with the management of Benguet Corporation (BC) for the utilization of a 10-hectare portion of its Antamok open pit site as an alternative site for the facility.
Pastor Shin added if the negotiations for the use of any of the two sites for the solid waste disposal facility will not materialize, then the local government will have to make do with the remaining potential site in Sto. Tomas School area even if the cost of constructing the road network will be prohibitive considering that it will involve the opening up portions of the property leading to the identified site.
Earlier, City General Services Officer Romeo D. Concio revealed the local government was able to complete the survey of the 50-hectare area where the integrated solid waste management facility will be built and that the fencing of the area is being awaited for implementation considering that some of the landowners are allegedly trying to prevent the fencing of the property.
Under the provisions of Republic Act 90033 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, local governments are mandated to close the operations of their respective open pit dumpsites and subsequently shift to engineered sanitary landfills or controlled dump facilities to preserve and protect the environment and prevent health hazards.
Pastor Shin revealed he will make the necessary representations for the release of the funds once the concerned local governments will work out the final site for the solid waste disposal facility to address the garbage woes of the local residents.