Sunday, January 30, 2011

Group assails ‘deplorable’ garbage situation

A WASTE and pollution watchdog on Wednesday expressed dismay over the deplorable garbage situation in the country. 

EcoWaste Coalition said the poor implementation of Republic Act 9003, otherwise known as the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, is to be blamed.

The law, signed on January 26, 2001, promised a healthy and sustainable environment, through segregation, recycling and composting to reduce waste.

“The 10-year-old law apparently has not developed into maturity despite its age, considering the garbage and waste crisis the country is in today.  What is very depressing is the utter lack of serious implementation of this law, as evidenced by the wanton violations of its major provisions everywhere,” veteran actor Roy Alvarez, president of EcoWaste, lamented.

Citing recent figures from the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC), EcoWaste Coalition said despite the law’s mandate for the closure of all open dumps by February of 2004, recent data from the NSWMC shows that 790 open dumps still remain in operation.

The group added that while all controlled dumps should have been closed by February 2006, the NSWMC data still reveal that there are 382 controlled dumps still operating, or three more than the NSWMC’s 2009 data.

According to EcoWaste Coalition, the progress in putting up materials-recovery facilities (MRFs) is also slow. The group said there are only 6,957 MRFs to date, serving only 7,938 of the country’s more than 42,000 barangays.

Another major concern, the group stressed, is the unacceptable location of “sanitary” landfills in areas prohibited by law—notwithstanding objections by the affected communities—such as the San Mateo Landfill in Rizal, the Ternate Landfill on Mount Palay-Palay in Cavite, and the VGP Landfill in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan.

The group wants the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to look into the various violations committed by landfill operations and concerned authorities. 

EcoWaste also observed that explicit violations on specific prohibited acts such as  littering, open burning, open dumping, construction of dumps in environmentally critical areas, and the manufacture, distribution, use or importation of non-environmentally acceptable products and services, remain unchecked, if not ignored by those who are supposed to implement the law.

“Ten years should be enough to teach us vital lessons to learn from and to enable our waste management authorities from the national to the local level to finally let the law have its rightful way,” Alvarez maintained.


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