“By their action today, Greenpeace underscored the sanctity of the people’s right to live in a healthy environment and to do what is morally just to protect the Laguna de Bay from further deterioration due to unchecked dumping,” Romy Hidalgo, Secretary of the EcoWaste Coalition and coordinator of the group’s Task Force on Dumps and Landfills.
“Sovereignty resides in the people. Our laws, yes, including our Constitution, empower our people to enforce their rights for a healthful and safe environment, when the same is violated by individuals, companies and, more importantly, by public officials,” Atty. Amang Mejia, volunteer
lawyer of the EcoWaste Coalition, added.
“We laud the non-violent direct action by Greenpeace water patrol against the infamous Angono dump, an illegal garbage disposal site by the lakeside, to put in force the provisions of Republic Act 9003 and Republic Act 9275 that forbid dumping to protect the public health and the environment,” the waste and pollution watchdog said in a statement following news about the closure of the dump.
The Angono dump, the EcoWaste Coalition noted, continues to operate in unashamed disregard of two major environmental legislation on waste and water.
R.A. 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 strictly bans all forms of open dumping, especially in flood-prone and environmentally-critical areas. The fine of P500,000 shall be imposed, upon conviction, for persons and entities operating open dumps.
R.A. 9275 or the Clean Water Act of 2004, on the other hand, prohibits dumping into water bodies or along the margins of any surface water, which could result to water pollution or block the natural flow of water. This law sets the penalty between P10,000 to P200,000 for every day of violation.
It will be recalled that Greenpeace on April 21 this year put up a signpost at the Angono dump that says “Our Trash, Our Water. Protect Our Water Sources,” drawing massive local as well as international awareness about the illegal dumping on Earth Day (April 22).
Following the embarrassing exposure of lakeside dumping, Angono Mayor Aurora Villamayor met with the representatives of the EcoWaste Coalition, Greenpeace and the Green Angono Movement where she pledged to take action towards the closure of the illegal dump.
“We hope that other cities and municipalities that contribute to the contamination of the country’s largest freshwater lake, particularly those that continue to operate illegal dumps, will finally do what is right and, together with the citizens and the industries, breathe new life into the dying lake,” the EcoWaste Coalition stated.
The Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) in 2006 gave Angono, along with the towns of Biñan, Paete and Taytay, the “Nakasusulasok Award” for the existence of obnoxious dumps along the shores of the lake. At least 10 other municipalities in the provinces of Laguna, Rizal and Quezon host illegal dumps in blatant violation of the ban on open dumping.
According to the LLDA, “these dumpsites along the shores are ecological time bombs, which if not given priority attention will result to tragedy of immeasurable magnitude.”
Unit 320, Eagle Court Condominium, Matalino St.
Quezon City, Philippines
+63 2 9290376