MANILA - The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has ordered the temporary closure of a Baguio open dumpsite that killed at least 6 people in a garbage avalanche nearly a decade ago.
The order was issued earlier this week after Environment officials found that the Irisan dumpsite continued to process biodegradable waste daily despite a 2012 court decision for its closure.
"It was an open dumpsite before; it remains an open dumpsite up to now," DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste and Local Government Unit Concerns Benny Antiporda said in a statement.
The Environmental Management Bureau in the Cordillera region has been directed to "issue a cease and desist order to the Baguio City government pending its explanation on its failure to comply with the Writ of Kalikasan and presentation of a sound rehabilitation plan," the statement read.
Open dumpsites have been prohibited by law after the passage of Republic Act 9003 or the "Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000."
Despite this, the Irisan dumpsite's closure would only be temporary "so as not to create chaos and a garbage crisis in the city," Antiporda said.
The landfill receives 30 tons of Baguio City's 190 tons of daily trash, according to data from the DENR.
Baguio City could haul its trash to garbage facilities in Dagupan City or Metro Clark, Antiporda said.
Incoming Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong earlier said he would hold office near the dumpsite to allow officials to "experience how they will live in such very, very foul environment."
Magalong said the city government is eyeing to establish a waste-to-energy scheme to resolve the garbage crisis in the tourism hub, but some stakeholders are worried that the technology would yield toxic emissions.
Baguio City is among the tourism destinations the government seeks to rehabilitate next to Boracay Island and Manila Bay.