Recycling facilities missing in Malabon


by Allan Yves Briones

An audit of the solid waste management practices of the city government of Malabon left much to be desired, according to the Commission on Audit (COA).

In particular, as shown by the 2018 annual audit report, the lack of Materials Recovery Facilities (MRF) in the city which contravenes environmental law.

Section 32 of Republic Act No. 9003 or the Solid Waste Management Act requires the construction of an MRF in every barangay.

“For this purpose, the barangay or cluster barangay shall allocated a certain parcel of land for the MRF. The MRF shall received mixed waste for final sorting, segregation, composting and recycling,” the law read, as stated in the report.

However, state auditors found that out of 21 barangays in Malabon City, only three have MRFs, namely Catmon, Dampalit and Hulong Duhat.

In addition, the MRF located at Hulong Duhat was not operational.

According to the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO), the remaining 18 barangays entered into agreements with local junkshop owners instead to let the latter function as MRFs – the barangay would sell wastes to the shops who likewise sold them to other recycling facilities.

State auditors found that the arrangement was less than satisfactory.

“[I]nspection of the junkshops disclosed that only segregated waste such as plastic and glass bottles, old news papers, cardboards and the like are accepted by (the junkshops),” COA said. “Thus, the agreement with them do not substitute for the MRFs.”

The state auditing agency ordered the city government of Malabon to prioritize the construction of the MRFs in the remaining 18 barangays to ensure full compliance with the law.

According to the CENRO, as stated in the report, the main problem is the land area for the establishment of the recycling facility. Also, the tie-ups with junkshops were allegedly recognized by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority.

Meanwhile, with the help of the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources, three additional barangays will receive funding for MRF construction.