Groups urge Cenro, Matina to solve Shrine Hills waste woe

Environmental groups have urged the Barangay Matina Crossing and City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) to immediately address the wastes that already covered the area surrounding the public viewing deck along the downhill of Shrine Hills.

The Sustainable Davao Movement (SDM), an aggrupation of pro-environment groups in the city, said the portion under the deck downhill is now covered with mixed wastes, mainly solids, plastics, rubbish, compostable, even hair residuals.

“Due to decomposition of organic variables, the area is now completely in awful odor and aesthetically unpleasing,” the group said in a statement.

The public viewing deck serves as resting area for joggers, bikers, devotees, tourists, and other local residents where they can see the panorama of the city’s downtown area. SDM members Carmela Marie Santos, director of Ecoteneo, and Chinkie Peliño-Golle, executive director of Interface Development Interventions Inc. (IDIS), have already sent letter  to the Barangay Matina Crossing and the CENRO to take “speedy and appropriate” action because “the scale of wastes is rapidly increasing as to its environmental risks.” Golle said the hills should be protected against improper waste management.

“They (the barangay) should closely monitor the area and should not allow dumping of wastes there,” Golle said in an interview.

Section 18 of the Davao City Ecological Solid Waste Management Ordinance cites that it is a responsibility of the barangay to “ensure that residual solid wastes and special waste from all sources within the barangay are properly brought to the designated collection points.”

The group also reminded the public on Republic Act 9003 that throwing of garbage in public places is a crime.

The SDM said in a statement that the Shrine Hills, the city’s remaining urban frontier, has to be “protected at all times” as it is declared as an urban ecological enhancement sub-zone under the city’s Zoning Ordinance.

“Micro plastic debris and particulates also deteriorates soil stability, leading to higher risks of erosion. Since the area is an inclined ridge, storm water runoff carries toxic residues to settlements and water bodies downhill, bringing pollution to a larger scope,” Sustainable Davao Movement said.

The IDIS has observed that the wastes dumped at the Shrine Hills covered 170 to 200 square meters of space.

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