Green Groups Deplore Dumping of Disaster Waste in Nangka River

Quezon City / San Mateo, Rizal. Environmental groups today deplored the reckless dumping of silt and garbage left by tropical storm Ondoy at the bank of Nangka River in Marikina City as a prelude to another disaster in the making.

The environmental groups EcoWaste Coalition, Greenpeace and the Sagip Sierra Madre Environmental Society captured on camera the illegal dumping activities in the area on October 4 and 6 using Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) or city trucks.

The groups happened to be in Barangay Banaba in San Mateo, Rizal to assist Buklod Tao (a local group) in the post-Ondoy disaster cleanup and relief operations

The groups asked Mayor Marides Fernando to stop the illegal and dangerous dumping of mud-filled disaster debris and trash in Barangay Nangka at the same river that overflowed at the height of the storm, submerging and destroying houses in surrounding communities in Marikina City and San Mateo, Rizal.

Lyn Ramos, a member of Buklod Tao and resident of Baybay Ilog in Doña Pepeng Subdivision, Barangay Banaba sought the help of the EcoWaste Coalition amid concerns that the dumped silt and garbage at the Marikina side of the Nangka River will go down the waterway, block the free flow of the water and cause erosion at the San Mateo side of the river where her family and several others live.

“Nababahala kami sa pagsikip ng ilog dahil mga itinapong putik at basura na unti-unting nahuhulog sa tubig. Maaari itong magbunga ng panibagong kapahamakan,” she said. (“We are worried about the tightening of the river due to the mud and garbage deposits that descend inch by inch into the water. This can lead to another disaster.”)

“Sana’y ipatigil na ng pamahalaang lokal ng Marikina ang pagtatambak upang maiwasan ang pagbara ng ilog at pagguho ng lupa,” she added. (“We hope that the local government of Marikina will halt the dumping to prevent the clogging of the river and the erosion of the soil.”)

“Government-sanctioned or not, the dumping at Nangka River is utterly illegal,” said Atty. Amang Mejia, legal counsel of the EcoWaste Coalition.

“This reckless act violates both the Clean Water Act and the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act and should be halted at once and rectified,” he said.

Discharging or depositing materials directly or indirectly into water bodies, which can cause water pollution or impede the natural flow of water, is prohibited under R.A. 9275 or the Clean Water Act.

Similarly, R.A. 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act bans the open dumping of waste matters in public places, especially in flood-prone areas.

“The dumping of disaster waste into the Nangka River is yet another evidence of how our environmental laws are brazenly ignored. We call on Mayor Fernando to honor the laws and stop the dumping, which we all know has exacerbated the still unfolding flood crisis,” the environmental groups said.

Photos by Bro. Martin Francisco. For more pictures, please click: