Philippines re-opens dump, eases citys trash woes
MANILA - The Philippines has decided to re-open a landfill near the capital Manila to temporarily solve the citys mounting garbage problem.
Presidential Executive Secretary Edgardo Angara said on Saturday the cabinet had approved the re-opening of the San Mateo landfill, which was closed at the end of last year, creating a build-up of filth in large areas in the metropolis.
San Mateo is one of two dumps that receive some 6,000 tonnes of solid waste a day generated by the citys 12 million people.
The other dump site, Payatas, was closed after a landslide killed over 200 people in July last year.
With no alternative sites in Manila and illegal dumping on the rise, officials tried last week to dispose of some of the citys trash on Semirara Island, just 45 km (30 miles) from the countrys premier tourist resort of Boracay.
But the two barges filled with garbage were stopped from unloading their cargo in Semirara by locals who picketed the pier in protest.
Acting on a petition by local residents, an Antique regional court also issued a 20-day restraining order to halt the dumping, which the government has appealed.
"We were caught by surprise by this problem," Executive Secretary Angara said in the presidents weekly radio programme. "The president and the cabinet were assured there would be no problem (dumping garbage in Semirara)."
In a separate radio interview on Saturday, Angara said the cabinet approved the re-opening of the San Mateo dump site as a temporary measure.
"The re-opening of San Mateo is temporary. Its use wont last longer than six months," he told local radio, adding the government would search for a permanent dump site for the city.
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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