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Smokey Mountain and Payatas dumpsites, Manila, Philippines

Closure of Smokey Mountain lead to the Payatas dump site that collapsed in the year 2000 killing hundreds of scavengers and their faimilies.


The Smokey Mountain was a fishing village in the 1960s before becoming a dumping ground for four decades that soon became the source of precarious sources of livelihood for thousands of people. 

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Smokey Mountain and Payatas dumpsites, Manila, Philippines
State or province:Manila, NCR
Location of conflict:Tondo
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Waste Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Landfills, toxic waste treatment, uncontrolled dump sites
Specific commodities:Manufactured Products
Fruits and Vegetables
Industrial waste
Recycled Metals
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Smokey Mountain operated for more than 40 years consisting of over two million metric tons of waste. In 1969, a joint venture agreement, between the National Housing Authority (NHA) and R-II Builders Inc. (RBI) was made to build a low-cost housing project at Smokey Mountain. When Smokey Mountain closed down in 1995, many scavengers migrated to the Payatas dumpsite, where another large scavenging community arose. In 2000, a landslide at the Payatas dump killed hundred of scavengers. (Wikipedia)

Project area:100
Level of Investment for the conflictive project76,680,000
Type of populationUrban
Affected Population:More than 80,000 living in the area
Start of the conflict:1990
Company names or state enterprises:Pangea Green Energy Philippines
R-II Builders
Relevant government actors:National Housing Authority, Home Guaranty Corporation
International and Finance InstitutionsAsian Development Bank (ADB)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Green Peace Manila, Payatas Alliance Recycling Exchange
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Groups mobilizing:Informal workers
International ejos
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Wastepickers, recyclers
Forms of mobilization:Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Fires, Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Genetic contamination, Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Waste overflow, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity)
Health ImpactsVisible: Accidents, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Malnutrition, Occupational disease and accidents, Infectious diseases, Deaths
Other Health impactsLand slides in the 2000 with an approximate death toll of 500 people
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Project temporarily suspended
Proposal and development of alternatives:"Next time... Try recycling" Initiative by GreenPeace Philippines
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

Republic Act 9003
[click to view]

Republic Act 9003

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

For love or money
[click to view]

Philippines turns trash into clean energy windfall

France-Presse, A. (2013). Philippines turns trash into clean energy windfall. [online] Available at: [Accessed 20 Mar. 2018].
[click to view]

Manila's waste scavengers are integrated into the recycling chain

van Kote, G. (2013). [online] Available at: [Accessed 20 Mar. 2018].
[click to view]

Compromise over failed Smokey Mountain project 'unacceptable'

Rappler. (2016). Compromise over failed Smokey Mountain project 'unacceptable'. [online] Available at: [Accessed 20 Mar. 2018].
[click to view]

Surviving Smokey Mountain (2005). ABC Radio National - A World Without Waste: Surviving Smokey Mountain 07/01/2006. [online] Available at: [Accessed 20 Mar. 2018].
[click to view]

Government should learn form Payatas tragedy - Greenpeace

Greenpeace Philippines. (2000). Government should learn form Payatas tragedy - Greenpeace. [online] Available at: [Accessed 20 Mar. 2018].
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

2017 piece on the legal battle
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Taran Arjun Dasani - [email protected] & Juan Miguel Verdadero - [email protected] supervised by Gabriel Weber
Last update22/10/2020
Conflict ID:3414
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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