Cebu City declares landfill area under state of calamity

By CHRISTIAN WAKEFIELD,
Cebu Gold Star Daily Reporter

THE city council of Cebu declared Wednesday the Inawayan Sanitary Landfill facility in Barangay Inayawan under “state of calamity” due to the raging fire fueled by methane deposits accumulated underneath hills of garbage.

The councilors said the ongoing fire at the city’s lowland is posing danger to the security and health of nearby residents. This, as the city council unanimously approved the resolution of councilor Gerardo Carillo, also the action officer of the City Disaster Coordinating Council (CDCC), to declare the landfill under state of calamity.

With the city’s lowland under the state of calamity, the city government of Cebu has now the option to use its calamity funds for the emergency purchases of equipment that will be used in dousing off the ongoing fire and for the food and medicines of the hundreds of individuals affected by the toxic smoke emitted from the burning hills of garbage.

The fire at the landfill started on April 6 and the Cebu City Fire Department finds difficulty in dousing off the fire because it is fueled by methane gas that has accumulated underneath the garbage.

Although fire trucks have already been deployed to contain the fire, smoke still poses danger to the health of scavengers and residents surrounding the land fill site.

Department of Health (DOH) director Susana Madarieta for Region 7 urged local residents to immediately evacuate saying the risk of contracting respiratory illnesses and skin diseases are high considering that the smoke from the blaze is toxic.

“As much as possible, residents with history of respiratory illness must leave the place immediately to avoid further complications,” said Madarieta.

Madarieta said she has already coordinated with Cebu City Health Officer Fe Cabugao in monitoring the health of residents surrounding the landfill as the fire rages on yesterday.

Smoke inhalation, especially if the smoke is toxic, can trigger asthma, other respiratory diseases, and even skin diseases, said Madarieta. People with low resistance to diseases must avoid the place, she added.

But Inayawan barangay chief Rustom Ignacio said there is no need for residents to evacuate the area as the fire has already been contained with the help of the fire department and the city government.

Ignacio said he has already ordered barangay health workers to monitor the health of residents, especially children, and said that while the barangay has recorded cases of respiratory illness, none has been considered serious.

“There is no need to evacuate but we are still reminding residents to avoid getting near the landfill as much as possible to avoid contracting illnesses,” Ignacio told reporters.

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