In a statement, the EcoWaste Coalition objected to the lack of attention given on protecting the environment, particularly from trash, as the Department of Tourism (DOT) unveiled last Monday its new catchphrase to lure tourists and double arrivals in the coming years.
“Our tourism authorities seem to have not noticed the ubiquitous litter making our country unappealing for visitors searching for exceptional places to see, relax and enjoy,” said Roy Alvarez, President of the EcoWaste Coalition.
“Our continuing failure to rid our streets, our markets, our festivals and tourist destinations, including our famed beaches, of trash will surely not attract, but keep potential visitors at bay,” he noted.
“For sure, these unsightly sites will not leave positive memories in the hearts and minds of our guests,” he said.
“Pilipinas Kay Ganda,” Alvarez quipped, might turn into “Pilipinas Kay Pangit” (Philippines So Ugly), “Pilipinas Kay Kalat” (Philippines So Messy) or “Pilipinas Kay Dumi’ (Philippines So Dirty) if the garbage issue is not adequately addressed.
“To emphasize our government’s commitment to waste prevention and reduction, DOT’s campaign logo should also incorporate the ‘chasing arrows,’ the universal symbol for recycling,” he suggested.
Last August, the EcoWaste Coalition wrote to Tourism Secretary Alberto Lim with a request to implement DOT Memorandum Circular No. 2005-04 declaring ‘Zero Tourism Waste as a goal and direction for sustainable tourism and development.”
The group also urged Secretary Lim to adopt “litter-free Pilipinas” as a flagship campaign of the DOT for the entire term of the Aquino presidency.
“Protecting our tourist attractions and destinations from waste and other forms of environmental abuse and neglect is key to any tourism development strategy that will bolster our competitive edge over our Asian neighbors,” the EcoWaste Coalition said.
DOT MC 2005-04 states that “tourism establishments and facilities generate significant volume of waste that can be considerably reduced to zero if a policy on waste prevention, reduction, separation at source, recycling and composting is put in place and genuinely carried out.”
Among others, the MC seeks the greening of tourists events and destinations and the implementation of ecological waste management in hotels and other tourism-related establishments.
The said policy was adopted following a seminar in November 2004 on “Zero Tourism Waste” at the DOT that was co-organized by the EcoWaste Coalition, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives and the Philippine Tourism Authority.
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