THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said that it shut down a four-hectare open dumpsite managed by the municipal government of Sta. Ana, Pampanga.

In a statement issued over the weekend, the DENR said its Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) in Region 3, along with the Philippine National Police-Maritime Group and Sta. Ana Municipal Police Station, issued the cease-and-desist order against the dumpsite in Barangay San Nicolas, Sta. Ana.

The Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 defines open dumpsites as those into which solid waste is deposited without planning and consideration for environmental and health standards. They are illegal to establish or operate.

The EMB also directed the Sta. Ana municipal Environment & Natural Resources Office to submit a safe closure and rehabilitation plan in a week’s time.

The open dumpsite in Sta. Ana, according to DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units Concerns Benny D. Antiporda, was on land classified for farming.

“You can see napakaganda po ng ating kabukiran then lalagyan mo ng basurahan sa gitna, malalason po ang tubig sa ilalim ng lupang ito kung kaya’t kailangang ma-safe closure and rehab ito (The beauty of the fields is spoiled by the dumping of garbage, which also risks poisoning the groundwater. That is why the site needs to be closed for safety reasons and rehabilitated),” Mr. Antiporda was quoted as saying in the statement.

Last month, Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu ordered Mr. Antiporda and the department’s regional offices to close all dumpsites by the end of March. — Angelica Y. Yang