local government officials of their liability under the law. The anti-dumping activists made the warning in a press conference held today.
EcoWaste Coalition members and community leaders are serving a first batch of Notices to Sue, as provided for under Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, on DENR Secretary Joselito Atienza, MMDA Chairman Bayani Fernando, Rizal Governor Casimiro Ynares III, Rodriguez Mayor Pedro Cuerpo, and the mayors of the City of Manila, Quezon City, Navotas City; San Pedro, Laguna; Malolos City, City of San Jose Del Monte, Meycauayan, Marilao, Plaridel, San Miguel, San Rafael, Hagonoy, Norzagaray and Paombong in Bulacan.
Also, a Citizen Suit, likewise provided for in RA 9003 for all concerned and affected citizens to avail themselves of against violators, is also being slapped against Mayor Romeo M. Estrella of Baliuag who earlier received from the same group a Notice to Sue which has remained unacted
“It has been two years since the deadline but the DENR, MMDA, and these local government officials have continued to ignore the law. Some have even opened new dumpsites such as the 19-hectare area in Montalban just beside the 14-hectare dumpsite for the garbage of Metro Manila,” said Rei Panaligan, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition.
RA 9003 mandates that all dumpsites should have closed on February 16, 2006 and replaced with Ecology Centers or Materials Recovery Facilities in every barangay, the EcoWaste Coalition explained in a statement.
Meanwhile, the areas and residents affected by the dumps suffer the pollution of the rivers, beside which many dumps are located; of the groundwater sources, and of the surrounding atmosphere, causing the destruction of otherwise productive areas and the spread of diseases among the human, plant and animal population.
The emission of toxic gases from the dumpsites also contributes significantly to the intensifying global warming. Some 2,500 scientists from 130 countries warned in February last year through the United Nations Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change that the world had only 10 years
to carry out drastic and dramatic measures to mitigate the irreversible trend. To date, only nine years are left to address the problem of dumpsites and other environment blights.
“We are taking action against erring public officials in view of the sad state of the environment and particularly the pressure to establish ‘sanitary’ landfills which would end up only as glorified dumps. We are not for landfills; we are for waste-free environment,” said Panaligan.
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