EcoWaste Coalition Appeals for Barangay Leadership and Action vs Garbage

PHILIPPINES. As the newly elected Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan officials commence their term of office on 30 November 2007, a public interest waste and pollution watchdog pleaded for greater grassroots leadership and action to solve the never-ending garbage woes.

“We appeal to all duly proclaimed barangay officials of Metro Manila and the entire nation to make Zero Waste resource management the cornerstone of their program for cleaner and healthier neighborhoods,” said Rei Panaligan, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition, adding that the “barangay-led ecological movement to eliminating waste is our best alternative to costly and polluting waste disposal technologies that contribute to ill health and climate change.”

The EcoWaste Coalition aired this appeal in view of the uninspiring enforcement of Republic Act 9003 in most of the country’s 41,994 barangays. Also known as the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, this law provides for a comprehensive and environment-friendly
approach to managing discards mainly through waste prevention, reduction, segregation at source, reuse, recycling and composting.

The law empowers the local government units, especially the barangays, to proactively manage the community discards in ways that will not harm the environment. Under R.A. 9003, the barangay is tasked to develop an ecological solid waste management program, promote waste separation at source, enforce a segregated collection for biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste, and establish Materials Recovery Facilities (MRF) in every barangay or cluster of barangays.

The MRF, also known as Ecology Center, is deemed essential in systematically managing and reclaiming discards, which would otherwise end up in waterways, dumpsites or landfills and result to the formation and release of toxic leachate, greenhouse gases, persistent organic pollutants and other chemical threats to the community health and environment.

Government statistics show that only 1,714 MRFs serving 1,921 barangays have been established to date, which is so small compared with the 41,994 barangays across the archipelago. Over a thousand illegal mixed waste dumpsites exist, while “guerilla” dumps are commonly seen in street corners or vacant lots in clear violation of R.A. 9003.

“Indiscriminate littering, dumping and burning of discards are fast becoming a national culture. We need to put our acts together if we want to stop these destructive practices that blight and poison our surroundings and make a mockery of R.A. 9003,” Panaligan said.

“Effective barangay leadership and action towards Zero Waste will not only clear our neighborhoods of litter and pollution, but will also open up concrete opportunities to raise the people’s ecological awareness and responsibility as well as create employment and livelihood from the reuse, repair, recycling and composting of waste resources,” Panaligan stated.

The EcoWaste Coalition also reiterated the need for barangay leaders to recognize, integrate and partner with the informal recycling sector, including the waste pickers, as they reorganize their Ecological Solid Waste Management Boards and review their work plans.

For inquiries, please contact Rei Panaligan at 9290376 or 0920-9062348.

EcoWaste Coalition
Unit 320, Eagle Court Condominium, Matalino St.
Quezon City, Philippines
+63 2 9290376