Irresponsible waste disposal, can risk lives, says NGO

Published June 12, 2018, 12:47 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Chito Chavez

Quezon City-based environmental group EcoWaste Coalition warned the public of more disastrous circumstances if garbage are indiscriminately dumped on the streets and waterways.

FLOODED METROPOLIS – This jeepney needed a push after stalling in the middle of flooded R. Papa St. in Manila Thursday. Floods forced the suspension of classes and work in government offices yesterday. (Czar Dancel | Manila Bulletin)
(Czar Dancel | Manila Bulletin file photo)

The call was made as the group said the recent flashfloods that hit many parts of Metro Manila due to inclement weather “should serve as another wake-up call for households, businesses and other waste generators to halt reckless waste disposal.’’

“Irresponsible trash disposal has no doubt contributed to the flashfloods that affected many commuters, residents and businesses. As the familiar saying goes: “basurang tinapon mo, babalik sa iyo,” said Daniel Alejandre, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“It is no secret that recklessly thrown garbage — from tiny cigarette filters to the omnipresent plastic bags — can end up in storm drains and esteros blocking the flow of water and triggering flashfloods that can endanger people’s lives,” he said.

He said that the reckless trash disposal also resulted in the dumping of plastics and other pollutants from land into the Pasig River and its tributaries and into Manila Bay “aggravating the pollution of our water bodies and the oceans with waste and chemical contaminants.’’

To address these twin solid waste and chemical woes harming the oceans, the Quezon City based group has renewed its call on the national and local governments to intensify the enforcement of Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.

R.A. 9003, among other things, prohibits the dumping of waste matters in streets, canals, esteros and other public places and punishes such act with a fine of P300 to P1,000, or one to 15-day community service, or both.

“The long-delayed issuance of the list of non-environmentally acceptable products and packaging materials, which
R.A. 9003 requires the National Solid Waste Management Commission to do, will surely help in reducing the dumping of waste and chemical pollutants to the marine environment,” Alejandre said.

“We hope Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu as chair of the commission will make this a top priority this year in
line with the global goal of beating plastic pollution as well as preventing ocean pollution of all kinds, especially from land-based sources,” he noted.

The group further expressed its hope that the new set of community and youth officials who will assume their office
on June 30 will take the lead in enforcing R.A. 9003 at the barangay level.

“We hope newly-elected Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan officials will take R.A. 9003 to heart and make it a centerpiece in building zero waste, toxics-free and disaster resilient communities,” Alejandre said.

“Newly constituted barangay councils should conduct a critical review of current ecological solid waste management programs, beef up their solid waste management committee if needed, set progressive goals and targets, and come up with innovative strategies, including maximizing the vital role of the informal waste sector, the EcoWaste Coalition added.

R.A. 9003 specifically requires the country’s over 42,000 barangays to develop ecological solid waste
management programs, promote waste separation at source, enforce a segregated collection for biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste, and establish Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs) in every barangay or cluster of barangays.