EDITORIAL - Action, not talk, needed on Inayawan dump row

(The Freeman) - September 9, 2016 - 12:00am

Political leaders of Cebu City should not wait until the issues hounding the Inayawan dumpsite evolve from being legal and economic to a full-blown health or medical emergency. With the long-delayed rains now seemingly upon the city, that open dumpsite can quickly turn from being just an olfactory nuisance and aesthetic challenge for now into a real self-initiating laboratory for disease.

Because of environmental law infractions, the previous administration was forced to shut down the dump and throw the city's garbage in a neighbor's backyard, for a hefty fee that the new administration was unwilling to pay, hence its reopening of the dump. Now the political leaders of Cebu City are squabbling over its fate. But as with any endeavor involving politicians, other issues always intrude into the picture.

To show just how irrelevant these other issues are, they will not merit any mention in this article. The only thing that matters is the health issue involving the dump and what the city government plans or intends to do about it. It is the only thing that matters because it is something that is urgent. It is something that cannot wait.

Right now, the political leaders of Cebu City may not see the urgency of the situation. They may think they have time in their hands. Probably they are just thinking of the garbage itself and where to throw it. They are not thinking of the health issues involved in garbage regardless of whether it continues to be thrown at the Inayawan dump or elsewhere, even at the SRP, or South Road Properties, as one threatened.

The Inayawan dump, to begin with, is not supposed to be where it is located. It is right smack in the middle of a huge human settlement on one side, and a huge land development on the other. More importantly, it is not the landfill that some have made it appear to be. It is just an ordinary dump in an open flat space that is close to the sea, where its toxic and polluting leaches are eventually destined.

That it is located where it is is the result of a lack of foresight and long-range planning. Today is no longer the time to be still mired in garbage issues. The city should have been up and cracking about garbage 50 years ago. But that is water under the bridge. There is no use weeping over lost opportunities. But what is galling is that, instead of getting up and cracking even this late in the day, our political leaders are still squabbling.

Today there are numerous diseases that are just waiting for the right time and opportunity to pounce. As this was being written, alerts have actually been raised about several of them, diseases whose spawning have a direct link to sanitation and hygiene, of which not just the proper disposal but actual availability of a disposal site is a major contributor.



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