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The first month of the implementation of the new garbage policy is the crucial period for Cebu City as the city is likely to have a lot of uncollected and unprocessed trash while still adjusting to the new system.

This Friday, April 1, 2011, the city government will start implementing the “No Segregation, No Collection” policy due to the urgent closure of the Sanitary Landfill in Barangay Inayawan.

Households and barangays that will not segregate their garbage will not be served by the Department or Public Services and will be penalized under City Ordinance 2031 or the ordinance for the implementation of the Solid Waste Management Act.

City officials admit that the first days will be most difficult especially when dealing with the behavior and attitude of the people. Cabrera said that the Inayawan Landfill will be closed for dumping, but will be open for the processing of the waste generated. The new garbage system starts with the segregation at the household level.

Only segregated biodegradable waste will be collected on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday while non-biodegradable waste will be collected during Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

The trucks of barangays that will not segregate will not be allowed to enter the landfill for the processing of their garbage. Their garbage will be returned to their area until they comply with the policy. Likewise on the streets, the salary of the city’s Metro Aides will be held if they will not be able to segregate the garbage at their level.

The biodegradable waste or the ‘malata’ will be processed at the bioreactor machines being set up at an area in the landfill. Cabrera said that there are about six bioreactors that will be used in Inayawan, four of which will be leased. The bioreactors are capable of processing over 100 tons of biodegradable waste daily. Of the 400 tons of garbage generated in Cebu City, 60 percent or about 240 tons are biodegradable waste while the rest or about 160 tons are non-biodegradable.

The non-biodegradable or the ‘di malata’ will be processed at the shredding machines. There will be about six to eight shredding machines that can process over a hundred tons of garbage daily. The end product shall be mixed with cement and other construction filling materials used in maintenance operations of the Department of Engineering and Public Works.

A total of 23 barangays have their own shredding machines which they expect to reduce the garbage that has to be brought at the Inayawan landfill. The city also rented one carbonizer that can process about 20 tons of garbage per day.

Cabrera said that they are considering the use of the Sewage Treatment Plant(STP) currently located in the North Reclamation Area to decongest the bioreactors in the area. STPs are also mulled in barangays Binaliw and Kalunasan.

Cabrera said that if all people will just cooperate, the city’s garbage will be reduced by 70 percent that will make it easy for the city government to manage. Cabrera said that of the biodegradable waste generated per person, 30 percent only is disposed while the rest may be used as fertilizers.

Since Monday, all barangay officials have been going around to inform the people about the new policy and to relay the consequences they might have to face when they refuse to follow the law. All Barangay Environment Officers including tanods and police are tapped to help enforce the solid waste management ordinance.

Cabrera said that she will raise the issue on health problems that may be brought by garbage in barangays that will continue to violate the policy during their meeting today. There is public health risk from garbage that would pile up. Garbage allows disease-causing pathogens to spread through flies, cockroaches and other insects. Diseases may be dysentery, diarrhea, flu and malaria, among others.