Informal waste leaders emphasize importance of waste segregation

Informal waste sector leaders from Caloocan, Malabon, and Manila underscored the need to actively enforce the legally required waste segregation to ensure the proper management of discards.
The Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, requires the separation of different waste materials at the point of origin in order to promote recycling and re-use of resources and reduce the volume of waste for collection and disposal.
"Putting different wastes such as food leftovers, empty bottles, old newspapers, broken electronics, used diapers, soiled face masks and others in one bag or bin will make reusing or recycling very difficult and even dangerous to waste workers," Ronaldo Sarmiento of the Samahan ng mga Mangangalakal sa Capulong, Tondo, Manila said in a statement. 
"Our work will be much easier and safer if households and businesses do not simply mix what they throw away," he added.
Informal waste workers engage in waste recovery as a means of livelihood.
The concerned leaders of the informal waste sector also pointed out the need to effectively implement existing rules and regulations promoting the ecological management of waste at the community level.
"It’s very important for barangay officials to pay attention to the enforcement of waste management ordinances such as those banning the improper disposal of trash in streets, canals and creeks," noted Eduardo Bernales of the Samahan ng mga Mangangalakal sa San Vicente Ferrer, Camarin, Caloocan City. 
"Bawal nga ang magtapon ng basura sa sapa pero wala namang nagbabantay o nanghuhuli. (It is forbidden to throw garbage in the creek but no one is watching or catching those doing it)," he added.
Joanna Amican of the Nagkakaisang Lakas ng mga Mangangalakal sa Longos, Malabon City, also emphasized the importance of strengthening the implementation of waste regulations that should be applied equally and fairly to everyone. 
"Determinadong pagbabantay at patas na pagpapataw ng kaparusahan ay talagang kailangan para mapairal ang mga mabubuting patakaran sa basura at kapaligiran. (Strict vigilance and fair imposition of punishment are really necessary to implement good waste and environmental policies)," she also said.
In observance of the Zero Waste Month this January, the informal waste sector leaders cited these practical ways to help improve their lot as well as solve the perennial garbage woes facing urban communities, especially in Metro Manila.
In recognition of the important service being performed by the informal waste sector in the community, Benedicto Nario of the Samahan ng mga Mangangalakal sa Bagong Silang, Caloocan City, urged authorities to provide their members with supplemental income to help them make both ends meet.
According to the country’s "National Framework Plan for the Informal Waste Sector in Solid Waste Management," the informal waste sector covers "individuals, families, groups or small enterprises engaged in the recovery of waste materials either on a full-time or part-time basis with revenue generation as the motivation."
Making up this sector are the itinerant waste buyers, paleros (garbage trucks crew), ‘jumpers’ (those who jump into collection trucks to recover recyclables), small junk shop dealers, waste pickers in dumpsites and communal waste collection points, informal waste collectors and waste reclaimers.
"The IWS is a strategic partner in our nation’s efforts to manage and win our war against garbage and climate change. As we mark the Zero Waste Month, we urge our government and people to help the IWS in improving their working and living conditions and to ensure they are not left behind," said Jover Llarion, community organizer and campaigner of EcoWaste Coalition.