By RUFFY MAGBANUA
THIS assumption could be wrong, but are expired processed foods in cans dumped in open lots years back still pose danger to the environment ?
Are “cased goods “ deliberately buried in the late 80’s and 90’s¬, hazardous to health?
Having said that, a hands-on experience on the dumping of expired processed Del Monte products in an open area near Alae, Cagayan de Oro is what keeps my conscience pestered– until now!
While working at Del Monte in Bugo, Cagayan de Oro as media relations supervisor and publications editor, I had an unfortunate assignment to ‘assist ‘ in the dumping of such expired products by the truckloads.
I was told beforehand that those expired cased goods, kept in commercial warehouses in the city had to be disposed discreetly – far from the quizzical eyes of the local media.
For the lack or absence of designated landfill, an open field had to be utilized, a practice which I would like to ask the Del Monte management: are you still into it? Or are you now out?
Study shows that wastes like abandoned piles of household garbage, bags of yard waste, cased goods, appliances, old barrels, used tires, and demolition debris such as lumber, shingles, pipes and asbestos can threaten the health of humans, wildlife, and the environment regardless of time element.
Known as open dumps, these sites can be found far and wide—mostly in urban centers like Cagayan de Oro.
Further, the study reveals that an open dump is an illegal waste disposal site and should not be confused with a permitted city solid waste landfill or a recycling facility.
If allowed to remain that way, open dumps grow larger, and may attract dumping of both solid and hazardous wastes.
Open dumps pose the health, safety, and environmental threats: fire and explosion, inhalation of toxic gases, injury to children playing on or around the dump site, disease carried by mosquitoes, flies, and rodents, contamination of streams, rivers and lakes, contamination of soil and groundwater, contamination of drinking water, damage to plant and wildlife habitats. decrease in the quality of life to nearby residents and the local community.
Open dumps create a public nuisance as well, divert land from more productive uses, and depress the value of surrounding land.
Causing or allowing open dumping is illegal, and may result in substantial penalties. Any of the following seven conditions at a dump site can result in the issuance of penalties: litter, scavenging, open burning, placement of waste in standing or flowing water, promoting an increase of disease-carrying organisms, standing or flowing liquid discharge from the dump site and deposition of construction or demolition debris.
Local law enforcement and public health officials have a duty to enforce open dumping laws, including provisions of the Environmental Protection Act. Cities and municipalities may impose additional penalties for open dumping.
Protect yourself against future open dumping: put up barriers (locked cables and gates) to prevent physical access to the property, post warning signs such as “no dumping” or “no trespassing”, clean up dump sites immediately to discourage further dumping, notify local law enforcement and health departments as well as keep a log book, record the date, time and description of what is dumped.
Moreover, ask local law enforcement officials to patrol the problem area more frequently, alert adjoining property owners of the open dumping problem and enlist their help in a neighborhood watch program.
The dumpers and generators of the waste are liable and subject to enforcement action. Further, the landowner has a duty to prevent open dumping and to clean up any pollution on their property.
They say old habits die hard. In this case, Del Monte has to prove to all and sundry that indeed such habit of dumping wastes is a thing of the past. Right, Virginia? ([email protected])
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