Philippine Standard time

Good Practices with Trail Blazing Results in Sanitary Landfill Management

Rapid population growth results in a massive shift to urban areas and the creation of new urban centers. This, in turn, results in increasing environmental concerns among the burgeoning volume of unsightly municipal solid waste (MSW) and the pollution of both surface and groundwater.

In the context of this grim environmental background, the author discusses good practices in the operation of sanitary landfills that have become a significant and vital element of sustainable urban development and green urbanism.

The huge waste generated in the National Capital Region and the provincial urban centers should not in any way be disposed of in a waste disposal facility other than a sanitary landfill for the simple reason that doing so will put in jeopardy the environment and the lives of the people where such non-sanitary waste disposal facilities are located.

According to the National Solid Waste Management Commission, out of the 1,023 dumpsites in the country, an estimated 600 are still in existence. Whether closed or still operational, these dumpsites continue to degrade and pollute our surface and ground water. National compliance with Republic Act No. 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, which was enacted ten years ago, remains only at an estimated dismal 16% which is a national embarrassment.

The report "Country Health Information Profiles of the Philippines" by the World Health Organization (WHO) cited that environment-related health risk is a significant problem in the country. It is estimated in the report that 22% percent of the reported diseases are environment-related of which 80% are water-borne diseases brought about by the contamination of underground water. These diseases include cholera, typhoid, gastroenteritis, Hepatitis A, and others. The common cause of such contamination is the seepage of leachate from garbage to the underground water. According to the WHO, the environment-related health risk is costing the national government 14.3 billion pesos annually in lost income and medical expenses.


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