EcoWaste Coalition Bewails New Year’s Revelry Garbage as the First Zero Waste Month is Observed

In the aftermath of the
boisterous celebrations of the New Year’s Eve that generated massive trash, an
environmental watchdog today deplored the unrestrained street dumping in the
metropolis, describing it as a disgraceful way of ushering in January, the
“Zero Waste Month.”
Every month of January starting
this year is observed nationwide as “Zero Waste Month” as per Proclamation No.
760 issued by President Benigno S. Aquino III on May 5, 2014.
To draw public awareness about
the problem, EcoWaste Coalition’s volunteers mounted wooden signages at a
roadside dumpsite along EDSA near the Balintawak LRT Station in Quezon
City.  Dumping is rife throughout the country despite long being outlawed
under Republic Act 9003, the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.
The signage reads “January is
Zero Waste Month:  Waste Not, Dump Not, Burn Not” (the other signage in
Tagalog reads: “Walang Aksaya, Walang Basura”).
“Year in, year out, we find our
surroundings buried in trash after the New Year’s revelry.  In fact, the
first day of the year is the busiest for street sweepers who have to clear
large volumes of litter in parks
and streets, as well as for garbage haulers who are in charge of refuse
collection and disposal at our brimful dumps and landfills,” said Aileen
Lucero, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.
“Is it not ironic that our
communities are wallowing in trash on the first day of the year while the first
ever ‘Zero Waste Month’ is officially observed?,” she asked.
“It’s high time that we question
our wasteful practices and set them right,” she suggested.
The EcoWaste Coalition hopes that
the post-revelry garbage would not see a recurrence at the impending huge
gatherings this month: the feast and procession of the Black Nazarene on January 9
and the visit of Pope Francis on January
15-19, particularly the concluding Mass on January
18 at Rizal Park coinciding with the feast of the Santo Niño.
“We cannot continue trashing our
nation and the planet without end. Mother Earth is not a limitless source of
raw materials, nor a boundless dumping ground for our refuse,” she emphasized.
Citing data from the National
Solid Waste Management Commission, the EcoWaste Coalition warned that solid
waste generation is projected to rise from 38,757 tons per day in 2014 to
39,422 tons per day in 2015 “due to rapid increase of population,
industrialization and development of our economy.”
Metro Manila’s population of
over 12 million spread in 17 local government units is expected to generate
9,060 tons of waste per day in 2015, up from 8,907 tons per day in 2014.
“Together, we can avert such
wasteful scenario by deliberately reducing what we throw away, by segregating
our discards at source, by reusing, recycling and composting more, by going
Zero Waste,” Lucero stated.
“Zero Waste,” according to the
said presidential proclamation, “is an advocacy to systematically avoid and
eliminate the volume and toxicity of waste, conserve and recover all resources
and not indiscriminately dispose or burn them.”