Payatas families moved following another trash avalanche
MANILA, Philippines — Some 100 families living near the old Payatas dump in Quezon City were evacuated Friday morning by a local government task force to safer ground after a mountain of garbage cracked, resulting in a minor trash slide.
Quezon City Environmental Protection and Waste Management Department head Frederika Rentoy said earlier they had submitted a closure plan for the Payatas dump to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
Rentoy said the plan would require the city government to make sure people would no longer live in the area, to ensure that trees and plants abound and to guarantee that the slopes are stable.
The city official said they were still looking for a place to build a sanitary landfill replacing the dump.
Joey Papa, president of the Bangon Kalikasan Movement, an environmental advocacy group, said the families were temporarily moved to the Justice Cecilia Muñoz Palma High School. “Rainwater was coming out of the meter-wide crack, causing trash to roll down,” Papa told the Philippine Daily Inquirer, parent company of INQUIRER.net.
He said the garbage slide in Payatas seven years ago that killed hundreds of residents was a result of a “damming effect” after heavy rains caused the mountain of trash to crash. “Authorities are just covering the crack with more trash, which is only a palliative solution,” Papa said.
He said the Payatas dump should be closed, fenced and rehabilitated according to the provisions of Republic Act 9003 or The Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.
Survivors of the Payatas garbage slide earlier expressed fears of another trash slide. In a recent memorial service for victims of the 2000 tragedy, Payatas residents said garbage was still being dumped on the site despite promises by city officials that the facility would be closed.
“We saw at least 10 trucks dumping trash at the site of the tragedy,” said Rowena Ferrater, secretary of the Sandigan ng mga Nagka-kaisang Kapitbahay sa Payatas. Her husband Roger lost three of his relatives, including a three-month-old nephew, in the trash slide.
She said she initiated a signature campaign to unite Payatas residents and prevent a similar tragedy.
Ferrater said city officials promised to build a concrete wall between the dump and the community, but only a makeshift structure made of galvanized iron was put up.