By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
The country’s current garbage problem, especially in Metro Manila, has already reached a “crisis” level, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu.
He said that now is the time to make serious effort in properly managing wastes generated by Metro Manila and nearby areas, pointing out that the public continue with their habit of indiscriminate dumping a few days after the cleanup efforts of authorities, civil society, and private sector are conducted.
Solid waste remains a huge problem in the country owing to non-segregation, rampant use of single-use plastic products, and improper waste disposal, Cimatu noted.
He said Metro Manila, with a total population of about 12.8 million, has a target waste generation of 58,112.31 cubic meters for 2019.
But as of the first quarter of the year alone, Metro Manila has already produced 34,574.77 cubic meters or 59.45 percent of the total target.
By the second quarter, estimated waste generation reached 32,221.17 cubic meters, amounting to another 55.45 percent of total.
“The target waste generation baseline for 2019 of 58,112.31 cubic meters has already been surpassed,” Cimatu said.
“We are now in the middle of a garbage crisis. If we continue to act only for our independent interests, continue to spoil our water bodies and fail to responsibly manage our wastes, we will not be able to sustain our efforts on this campaign,” he pointed out.
Under the Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, local government units are primarily responsible for waste segregation and disposal.
He said that cleaning right in the area would not solve the garbage problem. It has to be from the source.
He had earlier noted that following the natural flow of water, pollution from the upstream – including the esteros – will only quickly replace the solid waste removed from the coastal areas, such as the Manila Bay.
Only last January 27, DENR launched a massive cleanup that marked the launch of the rehabilitation program dubbed as “Battle for Manila Bay.”
Cimatu had called on all sectors to sustain the momentum of restoring Manila Bay by ensuring the cleanup of all 47 esteros and rivers that contribute to the pollution of bay.