The 5-hectare Sipalay Eco-Center, that cost the city government only P10 million, is now operational.
The eco-center located in Sitio Can-arao, Brgy. Cabadiangan, Sipalay City, houses about a hectare of sanitary landfill, facilities for material recovery, composting and waste water treatment.
Mayor Oscar Montilla yesterday said the eco-center, which is cheaper than similar facilities in other areas of Negros island, will also accept segregated garbage for disposal from the neighboring towns of Hinobaan and Sipalay, for a fee.
Since it started operations four months ago, Alexander Fecher, a German consultant in the construction of the eco-center, said they have not received any complaints of foul odor emanating from the place, and also noticed the absence of flies.
The establishment of the Sipalay eco-center, which was conceptualized and started during the administration of Mayor Soledad Montilla, was in compliance with Republic Act 9003, also known as the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.
Sipalay Environment and Natural Resources Officer Mary Ann Arguelles said the city government saved about P9 million in its construction since they will no longer purchase the clay needed in the sanitary landfill, because it is abundant in the area.
Two other eco-centers located in San Carlos and Bago cities in Negros Occidental, have been operational since 2004 and 2011, respectively.
Montilla said the Sipalay eco-center, which is locally funded and located about 10 kilometers away from the city proper, will help address the global warming problem.
Its entrance resembles a gated subdivision, and it is planted with grasses and trees. It could be mistaken as a park because of its landscaping.
Montilla said its construction also provided jobs to barangay residents, who used to depend for their livelihood on charcoal-making.
He said they are also engaging in a massive information drive in all the barangays of Sipalay, to educate the people about the importance of garbage segregation and the benefits of the sanitary landfill.
Montilla, assisted by Vice-Mayor Maria Gina Montilla- Lizares, distributed plaques of appreciation to those who were instrumental in the construction of the sanitary landfill, especially the staff and consultants of the German Development Services.
The activity was also attended by Hinobaan Mayor Ma. Teresa Bilbao, Board Member Pedro Zayco, Provincial Environment Management Office chief Aleta Nuñez, Lt. Col. Rodrigo Sosmeña, commander of the 47th Infantry Battalion, among others.*GPB