Farmers decry new San Mateo landfill
() - May 31, 2009 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – An upland farmers’ association in San Mateo, Rizal composed of over 200 families complained yesterday that they are being displaced by a controversial new landfill that is being built in Barangays Maly and Guinayang.

According to Ka Bonifacio Sitobal, their members have been farming in the area for generations but their livelihood is now in danger due to the new dump.

They also rued the suggestion made by some of the dump’s supporters that they just convert from farming to garbage.

The farmers’ group said additional land clearing operations were recently conducted on approximately five to 10 hectares of forested area in Barangays Maly and Guinayang to make way for additional dump craters.

They claimed the trees that were cut were either buried or burned into charcoal and that the resulting erosion and siltation can now be observed in the Sepak Maly River, which flows into the Marikina River.

The controversial new landfill has been the subject of mounting opposition from San Mateo residents and environment groups. The Kalikasan PNE and Garbage Free San Mateo said the new 19-hectare landfill is located at or near the protected forest areas of San Mateo as well as the Marikina watershed.

The project proponent, the San Mateo Sanitary Landfill and Development Corp. (SMSLDC), denied that the landfill is located inside the watershed. 

A previous dump in a nearby area was permanently closed by the Supreme Court in 2005 due to dangers to the environment. Despite the SC’s previous ruling, however, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, under Secretary Lito Atienza, allowed the construction of the new landfill.

SMSLDC claimed, however, that the new dump will be lined with “impermeable” layers of high-density polyethylene membrane and that no hazardous secretions from the solid wastes will leak out.

BARANGAYS MALY AND GUINAYANG DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES GARBAGE FREE SAN MATEO KA BONIFACIO SITOBAL KALIKASAN MARIKINA RIVER SAN MATEO SAN MATEO SANITARY LANDFILL AND DEVELOPMENT CORP SECRETARY LITO ATIENZA SEPAK MALY RIVER SUPREME COURT
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