Obando Landfill at risk to Acts of God

3 November 2011, Quezon City. Obando Landfill, if set up, would be highly vulnerable to extreme natural disasters confounding the latter’s disastrous impacts on the people of Obando, Bulacan. In response to the query made by EcoWaste Coalition, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) had determined that the Obando Landfill site in the fishing village of Salambao is vulnerable to liquefaction and tsunami, as well as to flooding and storm surges. PHIVOLCS Director Renato Solidum, Jr. said in his letter of response, “[Obando] is prone to liquefaction based on our indicative Liquefaction Susceptibility Map.” According to literatures, liquefaction is the process by which sediment that is very wet starts to behave like a liquid, often due to severe shaking especially that associated with earthquakes, which could destroy structures especially those whose foundations bear directly on the soil which liquefies. The letter also stated that “the coastal areas of the municipality are prone to tsunami inundation especially in the event of major earthquake occurrence coming from the Manila Trench and other nearby offshore earthquakes close to Bulacan.” “The low and flat elevation of Obando is such that, aside from being susceptible to liquefaction, flooding can and has occurred, more recent of which is the flooding and storm surge resulting from the passage of Typhoon Pedring.” the PHIVOLCS Director further stated in the letter. Residents claim that flooding in Obando is almost a year round occurrence as the town is below sea level and that the only protection that the municipality has from the tides are the dikes that are normally torn down whenever typhoons and tidal surges pay their visits. Why the DENR-Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) Region III and the Obando local government failed to recognize these facts alarmed zero waste and pollution watchdog EcoWaste Coalition. “They even allowed the establishment of toxic time bomb in an established geologic and climate hazard zone,” the coalition exclaimed. “This should leave no doubt as to the unsuitability of the site for the unpopular Obando Landfill,” EcoWaste Coalition’s Dumps and Incineration Task Force Co-Chair Romeo Hidalgo said. “The technical opinion of PHIVOLCS should prompt authorities, specifically the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to immediately halt the Obando Landfill project, as well as order the closure and rehabilitation of all disposal facilities in the Manila Bay area which has been shown to be vulnerable to acts of God,” Hidalgo added. Additional references: http://www.phivolcs.dost.gov.ph/images/liquefaction/liqn_phils.pdf