Monday, 17 October 2011 13:06
We appreciate the extraordinary concern and determination of our local government to push through with the development of the Salaan Sanitary Landfill. But we don’t agree with the idea of pushing through with this project without conducting a comprehensive Public Participation Process (PPP) which is a basic requirement for this kind of public facility. This process is indispensable for the following reasons:
l. Identifying the interested and affected areas;
2. Providing them with all the advantages, disadvantages, positive and negative effects, adverse and beneficial impacts of the projects so that they can make responsible and informed decisions; and
3. Public resistance and fatal flaws can be cooperatively overcome and mitigated.
In fact, in other cities and countries, the involvement of multi-disciplinary team in the selection of the landfill site is required, most especially with the participation of unbiased, independent-minded, impartial, and objective technical experts to insure public safety and protection of the environment. The services of consultants to make sure that the environment, economic, and socio-political aspects are properly considered in determining the suitability and acceptability of the landfill site selected. Other technical aspects such as adequacy of size, provision of sufficient buffer zones, proper determination of waste generation areas to be served, and transport routes. Another important criterion to be considered is the “economic radius.”
The Public Participation Process (PPP) aside from the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA} must be held as many times as necessary to fully inform the affected areas not only of the potential long-termed adverse effects of this facility to public health and the environment but also about their role, obligations, and responsibility in maintaining the safety and sustainability of this Sanitary Landfill in relation to existing agricultural and other economic activities. This process may also help in identifying areas of environmental sensitivity such drainage areas and those vulnerable to water pollution. Here’s what a noted author said about what to consider in the selection of a sanitary landfill site:
“The selection process must consider ground and surface water conditions, seismic impact zones and fault areas, geology, soils and topographic features, solid waste types and quantities, geographic factors and aesthetic and environment impacts, environmentally sensitive areas , critical habitats of endangered species…”- J.Paul Guyer, PE., RA, “ An Introduction to Sanitary Landfills.”
Now the big question is, has there been any Public Participation Process held in the selection and determination of the Salaan Sanitary Landfill site?
By Clem M. Bascar
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