Waste and toxic watchdog EcoWaste Coalition reverberated this call as the world prepares to commemorate the World Water Day on 22 March.
“We are alarmed and aghast that we have reached this point in time when we will celebrate World Water Day for the 22nd time and yet continue to witness the desecration of our water bodies with all sort of waste materials!,” Aileen Lucero, EcoWaste Coalition National Coordinator, exclaimed.
She emphasized that through the years we have witnessed the growing issue of the lack in proper and ecological solid waste management in the country, which very recently even led the nation to find its way into the list of countries with most contribution to marine litter and pollution.
She noted that, according to the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC), the country’s waste generation projection from 2012 to 2016 indicated an increase in volume of generated waste, from 37,427 to 40,087 tons per day.
“This trend, coupled with poor implementation nationwide of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act or Republic Act 9003, will increasingly exacerbate the contamination of our water bodies with waste and toxic leachate,” she emphasized.
The Coalition further noted that while open and controlled dumpsites should have all been closed, as mandated in RA 9003, since 2004 and 2006 respectively, recent NSWMC data showed that there remain 900 of such pollutive, toxic-leachate-producing, garbage disposal facilities.
There are also 137 landfills in operation in the country to date. The Coalition however quickly pointed out that landfilling frustrates the intention of the law, which is the diversion of wastes from ending up in such facilities, especially since landfills normally accept unsorted wastes.
“This makes the landfill a ticking time bomb ready to release its toxic leachate into the environment, threatening even our water bodies,” the group said.
The Coalition added that the Manila Bay itself, while there is a standing Supreme Court order to clean it up, is home to polluting dumps and landfills, with a new one situated in a mangrove forest and former fishpond in a fishing village.
EcoWaste Coalition maintained that a genuine national implementation of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act will go a long way in protecting the country’s water bodies from waste and toxic pollutants.