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Montabiong Open Dumpsite for the Municipality of Lagawe, Ifugao

Lagawe is the capital of Ifugao which has the total land area of 208.9 sq. km. hosting
a population of 18, 077 (2010 census). Lagawe is occupied by residential houses, business
establishments, recreational areas (plaza and gym) and medical centers (Ifugao General
Hospital and Private Clinics). Disposal of solid waste is a major problem in Lagawe at
present. Garbage/ waste is produced more rapid in commensurate to fast growing of
The Local Government Unit of Lagawe has acquired a land area at Montabiong,
Lagawe, Ifugao purposely for open dumpsite for garbage. Approximately more or less 3
kilometers away from Poblacion East where the MLGU is located. Monday-Wednesday-
Friday is the scheduled day for the dump truck to collect garbage from residential houses
and business establishments. Fees are collected for maintenance.
Montabiong Dumpsite started operating since the second term of Honorable Ceasario
Cabbigat (2011).

The open dumpsite is located on top of a mountain in Montabiong. From the road
down the neighboring mountain where the dumpsite is located, smoke can be seen from
the burning garbage. And at the foot of the mountain is a river flowing down to Jucbong,
Lagawe, Ifugao.
It was noticed that there were residents nearby the road where the garbage dump
truck pass through. Approximately more or less 200 hundred meters away from the area
where garbage is unloaded.
There were garbage improperly disposed along the road, usually are cellophanes and
plastics. And on the unloading site was a huge pile of garbage. There were nine (9)
scavengers seen on the day of the visit but according to a woman sometimes they are
more than ten (10) who go for looking for any recyclables that can they can get.
An area is flattened purposely for the garbage to be unloaded and where it will be
dried ready for burning. And as observed there is no structure of support to at least
prevent the erosion of the garbage down to the river just at the foot of the mountain.
Trees that are covered by garbage where found dead. Biodegradable waste were rotting
that cause stinky odor on the area. Broken glasses were all around.
Leachate is accumulated on the base of the piled waste. If rainy season comes
contamination of the run-off water cant be avoided, erosion of the garbage too. Open
dumpsite create a clear and obvious threat to human health as well as a threat to our
environment from the hazardous contaminated air emissions emitted from the open
garbage dump site biodegradation. There are toxic gases released from the open
dumpsite, of the most serious of which is methane. Methane gas is naturally produced
during the process of decay of organic matter. As methane gas is formed, it builds up
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pressure and then begins to move through the soil. Methane is a more potent greenhouse
gas than carbon dioxide.
Studies have shown significantly reduced height among children who live near dump
sites. It has also been shown that people living close to open dumpsites suffer from lung
and heart diseases from the toxic gasses that are released from the garbage dumpsite
The major issue caused with dumpsite leachates is the leakage of a large number of
toxins into fresh water waterways, which end up in homes as drinking water or water for
everyday use. The pollution is also severely harmful to animal and plant life.
Groundwater contamination may result from leakage of very small amounts of leachate.

Pollution due to improper management of garbage is hazardous. Pollution may be
through air or water, it can be direct to human through dusts and direct contact with
toxic waste. Pollutants deposited on land usually enter the body through the medium of
contaminated crops, food products, water and animals. Land pollution can also damage
terrestrial ecosystems, resulting in the deterioration of the conservation on and amenity
value of the environment.
According to Marshal (1995), open dumpsites are a major problem to the
environment, especially on the air that the people inhale. Dumpsites emit obnoxious
odours and smoke that cause illness to people living in, around, or closer to them.
According to Wrensh (1990) dumpsites maybe a source of airborne chemical
contamination via off site migration of gases and the particles and chemicals adhering to
dust, especially during the period of active operation of the site. Contamination of soil
and groundwater may lead to direct contact or pollution of indoor air for example in the
case of volatile organic chemicals into basements of nearby residents and in the case of
consumption of home grown vegetables as well. Wrensh (1990) further stated that in
some sites, volatile organic chemicals have been detected in odored air of homes nearby
Most solid wastes are disposed on the land in open dumps. Disposal of solid waste on
the land without careful planning and management can present a danger to the
environment and the human health. The environment should be clean and less polluted
by all means. This means that waste should be managed at all costs to limit its effects to
the environment (US Environmental Protection Agency, 2006).
Organic waste materials such as food scraps, paper products and plants should be
recycled. These materials are put through compost to decompose the organic matter and
then recycle as mulch or any agricultural compost.
The observation above has shown the hazard of improper disposal of garbage. If the
concerned citizen wont act on this immediately, they will be facing more complicated
consequences in the near future. The open dumpsite can be improved, rather than
leaving it open develop it as a sanitary landfill instead.

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A photo taken from the road
going up to the open dumpsite. The
arrow shows where the unloading
ground for garbage is. At the foot of the
mountain is a river flowing down to
Jucbong, Lagawe, Ifugao
Improperly disposed garbage
along the road which cover the plants.
The trees where dying.
The pile of garbage (unsegregated
biodegradable and non-biodegradable).
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A liquid called leachate is accumulated
at the base of the piled garbage.
A Nipa Hut on a Corn Plantation beside
the Montabiong Open Dumpsite.