Decommissioned Irisan dumpsite slowly turning into an ecopark

BAGUIO CITY – (23 February 2021) – The former Irisan garbage dumpsite shall be an environmental-friendly ecology park in a few months, General Services Officer Eugene Buyucan announced during the management committee meeting last week.

A marked improvement of the area from the past years is noticeable with walls, paved road, cement pathways, a parking space on-going improvement, thriving greenery on terraces, trees, and a few huts for shade. Recyclables have been utilized as planting materials along available areas, it was observed.

From a mountain of mixed biodegradables, recyclables and residual garbage, procedures are being undertaken to clean up and turn the area into a habitable area, Buyucan said.

A leachate tank has also been constructed for liquid filtrate – contaminants from the mixture of residuals and special wastes which threatens the water table in the area.      

Slowly, since the department heads’ first meeting conducted by Mayor Benjamin Magalong at the area in July 2019, transformation through leveling, terracing, planting and landscaping has been done, Buyucan said. Agricultural lime has also been sprayed earlier to control odor from the buried garbage.

Market waste or biodegradables, are still being processed at the Environmental Recycling System (ERS) within the area, turning them to soil conditioner or compost for fertilizer. It was noted that the usual recyclables in neighboring houses’ rooftop or lower parts are no longer seen, with changes to other lines of businesses.    

In the past, several executive secretaries have visited the area including Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu and Undersecretary Benny Antiporda; including Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Ano, pointing out areas needing improvement. Environmental factors such as water and air quality, were also tackled during said visits.             

It may be recalled that when Typhoon Mina which dumped rains in the city in August 2011, tons of garbage from the Irisan dumpsite breached a side of the concrete walls, falling into the neighboring municipality of Tuba, Benguet. Five lives were lost, with damages incurred to at least three houses downhill.

Thereafter, a Writ of Kalikasan from the courts deemed the garbage dumpsite closed and transferring the staging area from Irisan to Lamtang, La Trinidad.

Presently, the city is using a government property at the Department of Agriculture (DA) Dairy Farm along Marcos Highway as sorting and staging area of non-biodegradable waste before these are transported to an engineered sanitary landfill in Urdaneta, Pangasinan.

The project to transform the former Irisan dumpsite to a park costs more than P17M with 175 calendar days to complete. – Julie G. Fianza