Sunday, September 5, 2010

Environment group hails MMDA's move to revive Metro anti-littering law

An environmental group yesterday expressed its
support behind the decision of the Metropolitan Manila Development
Authority to re-implement an anti-littering ordinance for the

In a statement, the EcoWaste Coalition, a group campaigning for a
“litter-free” Philippines said the move to revive MMDA Regulation No.
96-009 or the MMDA ordinance against littering, should strengthen the
agency’s operations, in collaboration with local government units
(LGUs), to clear the streets and waterways of trash.

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino earlier said the agency plans to
re-implement the ban on littering, dumping and disposal of trash in
public pla­ces as embodied in the said regulation that penalizes
violators with a fine of P500 to P1,000 or a corrective community

The EcoWaste Coalition also called on the MMDA and the other LGUs to
push for the enforcement of Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid
Waste Management Act. “We seek and support the earnest enforcement of
RA 9003 and related ordinances and measures by the MMDA and the 17
LGUs to curb indiscriminate waste disposal and encourage environmental
stewardship among Metro Manila residents,” said EcoWaste Coalition
president Roy Alvarez in a statement.

According to the EcoWaste Coalition, RA 9003 promotes waste avoidance
and volume reduction, separation of discards at source, reuse,
recycling, composting and other best practices in waste management
sans incineration.

“A crackdown on litterbugs is justified in order to safeguard public
health, safety and welfare,” he said.

Crackdown on litterbugs

MMDA Regulation Number 99-006 was approved by the Metro Manila Council
(MMC), the agency’s policy-making body in August 1996 and prohibits
the dumping and throwing of garbage or any kind of waste in open or
public places.

The ordinance was however, suspended in 2003 after the agency focused
on other priority programs.

Under the MMDA’s anti-littering ordinance, violators would be issued
Environmental Violation Reciepts (EVRs) and would be made to pay fines
of between P500 to P1,000. Those who cannot afford the fine are
ordered to render community services. Violators with unsettled fines
are denied clearance from the National Bureau of Investigation.

According to Tolentino, from January 1999 to July 2002, the MMDA
caught 222,956 litterbugs, 1,583 of whom rendered community services.
Of those arrested, 20,943 also faced charges before various
metropolitan trial courts.

The MMDA, for the same period, also collected P12 million in fines
which were then divided between the agency and the concerned local
government units.

Tolentino said he has ordered the MMDA’s Health, Public Safety and
Environment Protection Office to finalize the manual of operations for
the implementation of the ordinance.


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