The Department of Environment and Natural Resources- Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) has ruled that the Econest Waste Management Corporation, operator of the Hermosa Sanitary Landfill committed multiple environmental and administrative violations in the operation of the said landfill located in Brgy. Mambog.
DENR-EMB Director William Cunado and the Technical Team from the EMB Central Office presented their findings during a Zoom meeting last September 15, 2020 called for the purpose by Rep. Jose Enrique “Joet” Garcia III (2nd District, Bataan) as an offshoot to the DENR Budget Hearing conducted by the House Committee on Appropriations.
In the said hearing, Rep. Garcia raised questions to determine the EMB’s responsiveness to complaints about environmental violations, particularly the Municipality of Hermosa’s complaint against Econest which the local government, through Municipal Mayor Antonio Joseph Inton, brought to the attention of the EMB as early as August 30, 2019.
Because of continuing violations by the operator and the delayed action of the EMB Regional Office, the Local Government issued a temporary closure order against Econest which was served last February 20, 2020.
Among the most notable findings were: acceptance of hazardous waste, no separate cell for pathological/infectious waste, no daily soil cover, failure to comply with specific provisions of Republic Act 6969 or the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Waste Act of 1990 and its IRR, lack of Emergency Preparedness Plan, No Safe Closure and Rehab Plan, failure to comply with specific provisions of RA 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, among many others. The EMB Central Office Technical Team conducted a comprehensive inspection of the landfill facility last August 3 and 4, 2020.
The EMB Central Office also noted that Econest did not have a TSD Category C permit which made the company ineligible to accept biomedical wastes. Econest, through its President, Atty. Beulah Coeli Fiel, earlier declared that her company indeed accepted treated biomedical wastes.
Econest in a March 9, 2020 letter to the Municipality declared their withdrawal as an investor and operator of the landfill less than a month after the temporary closure of the landfill and while the case was still pending before the EMB Regional Office.
The Regional EMB headed by Director Wilson Trajeco had previously cleared Econest from environmental violations and only cited them for lack permits.
The DENR-EMB Central Office has assured the Municipality of Hermosa and Cong. Joet Garcia that following the findings of the agency’s Technical Team, orders will be forthcoming to determine the accountability of the erring operator of the Hermosa SLF. The landfill remains closed as of this time.