MANILA, Nov. 4, 2011?The controversial landfill project being proposed in Obando, Bulacan is highly vulnerable to flooding, storm surges and other environmental risks, according to PHIVOLCS Director Renato Solidum, Jr.
Solidum said the low and flat altitude of Obando is susceptible to liquefaction, and flooding as what had happened when the country was visited by Typhoon Pedring recently.
“[Obando] is prone to liquefaction based on our indicative Liquefaction Susceptibility Map,” he said in response to a query asked by environmental network EcoWaste Coalition.
Literature defines liquefaction as a 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 proposed landfill in Obando’s Barangay Salambao is a 44 hectare area that is located in a fishing village near the mouth of Salambao-Binuangan River, a tributary that empties to Manila Bay.
Because of Obando’s vulnerability to natural disasters, the planned sanitary landfill, if pushes through, would have disastrous impact on the environment and people’s health and livelihood, according to residents.
Those against the project, which include citizens’ groups, Church and religious associations, an environmental coalition, and a fisherfolk alliance, stressed that the waste facility will be harmful to health, destroy livelihood, worsen the perennial problem of flooding in the town and aggravate the deterioration of Manila Bay.
Concerned Citizens of Obando has recently asked the Supreme Court to issue a writ of Kalikasan and a temporary environmental order (TEPO) against the proposed landfill.
Solidum further 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.”
EcoWaste Coalition hit Region III’s DENR-Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) for failing to consider the unsuitability of the area as a waste disposal facility.
“They even allowed the establishment of toxic time bomb in an established geologic and climate hazard zone,” the coalition pointed out.
Coalition’s Dumps and Incineration Task Force Co-Chair Romeo Hidalgo said DENR should heed the scientific opinion of PHIVOLCS and stop right away the landfill project.
“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.
According to concerned groups, the proposed landfill goes against the provisions of RA 9003 or Ecological Solid Management Act.
They also pointed out the pollutive effects of the project as it may leak toxic “juice” from dumped garbage and contaminate water sources.
The project also perpetuates a clear case of environmental injustice, they added.
On December 22, 2010, the EMB regional office for Central Luzon had issued an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) to EcoShield Development Corporation for the construction and operation of the Obando landfill.
EcoShield is headed by businessman and former Ambassador Antonio L. Cabangon Chua, according to the ECC.
The landfill can contain a capacity of 1,000 metric tons of wastes per day and is expected to cater to Metro Manila’s garbage. (CBCPNews)