Wondering what am I doing featuring the Payatas dumpsite in Vista Pinas? Well, today is Earth Day and instead of showing some ecological site (like the La Mesa Ecopark), I though that there’s no better way to drive home the point about the need to take care of Mother Earth than by showing you what is considered the largest dumpsite in the Philippines. Vista Pinas is not your usual travel blog and through the power of Google Maps and other mapping sites, we are able to virtually visit places that one would not normally visit in real life.
However, you might be surprised to know that lots of people do visit the Payatas dumpsite, which is located in Barangay Payatas in Quezon City. This is because the dumpsite, which has been in operation since 1973 (!), is a viable destination for people who are into humanitarian or environmental concerns. Why humanitarian? Well, the dumpsite is where a lot of poor scavengers earn their living by collecting and sorting garbage and selling them for recycling. In fact, there are thousands of families living in the vicinity, subsisting in the garbage industry.
The Payatas dumpsite is also notorious for the Payatas landslide on July 10, 2000. Prior to that day, rains from tropical storms had weakened the mounds of garbage. Finally in the early morning of that fateful day, the unstable garbage all came crashing down, burying more than a hundred shanties with families inside. Subsequent rescue efforts recovered around 200 bodies but the actual death toll may never be known.
Since that day, the conditions at the dumpsite had improved a lot and there had been no major accident, but the garbage problem and the poverty are still major problems. If you’re interested, you might want to see this webpage containing tons of pictures of the dumpsite with informative captions showing how the scavengers make their living.
Anyway, before I started researching for this post, I had no idea where Payatas was. So when I found it on Google Maps, I was simply shocked to find out that the dumpsite is located less than 500 meters from the La Mesa Dam Reservoir, which is the main source of water for Metro Manila! Are you shocked as well? Maybe now is the time to start thinking about really helping save the environment, eh?