SC petition filed to shut down Payatas landfill

MANILA, Philippines – A group of concerned residents believes the Supreme Court (SC) should compel government to shut down the Payatas sanitary landfill for violations of environmental laws and its effect on the health of nearby residents. 

The Alyansa ng mga Samahang Nagkakaisa sa Payatas on Friday, March 13, filed the SC petition seeking a Writ of Kalikasan against government officials, including Quezon City (QC) Mayor Herbert Bautista and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Environmental Management Bureau.

A Writ of Kalikasan is a legal action demanding that government agencies be taken to task for their failure to protect Filipinos from alarming environmental damage.

Petitioners said the Payatas landfill is violating provisions of Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act and other environmental laws, including the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act.

"Ito ay nakakaapekto sa kalusugan ng mga tao at tubig na iniinom ay naaapektuhan din (The landfill is affecting the health of the people, and the water they drink is affected too)," said Nita Panoy, head of the alliance.

Aside from health issues, the petitioners argued that many residents get displaced because of the continued expansion of the landfill’s operations – operations that  should not be allowed, given that Payatas is a residential zone. 

A Rappler investigative report in 2014 revealed that if Quezon City strictly implements RA 9003 by putting up a materials recovery facility in every barangay, the QC government could save at least P253 million of taxpayers' money every year. 

Instead, QC pays almost P1 billion a year to 6 private contractors in charge of picking up trash all over the city and dumping them in the Payatas sanitary landfill. (READ: QC gov't: Garbage law too difficult to implement)