The Challenging Road to Sustainable Waste Management in Metro Manila: The Case of Payatas

Abstract

Since 2001, the Payatas site in Quezon City, Metro Manila, has been transformed from an open dumpsite, into a controlled waste disposal facility, and recently into a sanitary landfill. This transformation resulted in a number of positive outcomes for the community and the environment, including: the first Clean Development Mechanism landfill gas-to-energy project in the country, organization of waste pickers, free electricity for street lighting and the community center, and business development resulting from recycling activities. The municipal government of Quezon City is currently facing the expiration of the sanitary landfill’s license in June 2014 and it is looking into different options for waste disposal. Some of the options being explored could result in positive environmental impacts, however there may be a tradeoff for the local community whose livelihood depends on the landfill’s operation. The case explores the challenges of complying with government regulation while successfully addressing the city’s waste disposal as well as not harming the livelihood of the local community or the environment. The case describes the tradeoffs that each available alternative presents.

This case is part of the course entitled Case Studies in Sustainable Development at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. 

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