Posted on April 2, 2011


Closure of Inayawan dumpsite starts

By Jemarie Jane P. Augusto, Correspondent
Cebu City residents woke up yesterday to the reality of new rules of trash collection.

Some neighborhoods didn’t have their garbage picked up because it wasn’t the right kind of litter.

At least 21 trucks carrying mixed trash were turned away from the Inayawan landfill to enforce waste segregation.

“This is a real struggle,” said Cebu City Councilor Nida Cabrera in Cebuano, “but we’ve made the decision to do this.”

It will take about a week to make adjustments, she said.

In the first day of the selective “closure” of the landfill by the Cebu City government, several neighborhoods were caught off guard and scavengers complained about earning less income with the limited pickings.

Cabrera said Cebuanos have to learn to segregate trash in households and communities as a duty of each citizen, not just the government.

“Magkat-on na jud unta sila that ilahan’ng responsibilidad ang ilaha’ng basura,” said Cabrera.

Friday, April 1, was the schedule for picking up only biodegradable waste like paper, kitchen scraps, leftover food and garden clippings.

Garbage trucks that didn’t follow this were forced to return to their barangays to have the trash sorted out.

Today is the turn for collecting nonbiodegradable garbage like plastics and bottles, following a schedule of Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

As of 3 p.m. yesterday, a total of 58 trucks were allowed entry in the Inayawan landfill, where piles of biodegradable trash were dumped, then shredded to be made into biomass fuel bricks.

Mayor Michael Rama said he saw no problem with the non-entry of garbage trucks that didn’t follow the policy of “no segregation-no collection.”

Rama has ordered Inayawan landfill personnel to stop accepting unsegregated garbage effective April 1 in compliance with the Solid Waste Management Act, which bans open dumpsites and Cebu City Ordinance 2031 that mandates waste segregation.

Engineer Randy Navarro, landfill manager, said “60 percent to 70 percent” compliance was achieved in the first day of the closure.

“They were forced to segregate because the trucks couldn’t enter the landfill. The problem now is how the barangay officials can make their people cooperate,” he told Cebu Daily News.

In barangay Mambaling, only two trucks were able to collect roadside garbage along N. Bacalso Avenue, C. Padilla Road, near the SRP access road and along the Jai-alai and Tabada Roads.

Garbage in the interior sitios were not collected.

Loven Bayawa, head of the clean and green program, said the barangay council has to visit the sitios to brief residents about the “no segregation-no collection” policy of the city.

He and 15 sanitation workers worked five hours sorting out garbage and reloading biodegradable waste into a truck so they could send it back to the Inayawan at 7 p.m. And be sure it would be accepted this time.

The 21 garbage trucks that were turned away at the landfill came from 17 barangays and four private establishments.

The barangays were Basak San Nicolas, Mambaling, Tisa, Bulacao, Guadalupe, Bacayan, Pahina San Nicolas, Mabolo, Sambag 1, Banilad, Apas, Talamban, Sawang Calero, Labangon, Calamba, Quiot Pardo and Suba.

Cebu City has a total of 80 barangays.

Although the planned closure has long been discussed in City Hall, ordinary residents said they were still caught off guard by the change.

In Mabolo, the garbage truck had to turn around and bring back its load to the barangay headquarters.

Mabolo barangay councilor Frank Gajudo said there was not enough time to brief residents with pamphlets and a two-day “house-to-house” campaign.

He said some residents were “hardheaded” about following the new rules, some were caught by surprise and and others were too “lazy” to sort out their trash.

No area has been designated yet in Mabolo for a material recovery facility (MRF), an area set aside to drop off trash, segregate, recycle items and be used for composting pits. A station for this in every barangay is required by law. Gajudo said they lack space.

So they will try again today, this time to bring nonbiodegradable garbage to the landfill.

The MRF is a station to be used for solid waste transfer station or sorting station, drop-off center, a composting facility, and a recycling facility.

Garbage trucks of barangay Mambaling and Apas were also turned away.

Love Lauron, barangay secretary of Mambaling, said their truck went to Inayawan at 4 a.m. but was denied entry at the gate.

She said leaflets were distributed to residents but many people were too lazy or refused to follow rules of waste segregation. Mambaling has no MRF.

Barangay Apas has a shredder machine and an MRF station to sort out trash. A house-to-house information campaign was made, but some residents still have to get used to the new system. /With a report by Doris Bongcac

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