The EcoWaste Coalition and the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) issued its plea for Zero Waste communities as representatives of the country’s 42,000 barangays converge at the SM Mall of Asia Convention Center in Pasay City on July 30 for the Third National Convention of the Liga ng mga Barangay sa Pilipinas (LBP).
“We commend our grassroots leaders who have transformed their barangays into healthy and climate-friendly havens for their constituents by implementing Zero Waste resource management,” said Roy Alvarez, President, EcoWaste Coalition.
“By embracing Zero Waste principles and implementing changes, they have saved scarce public funds from being spent for expensive haul-dump-burn waste disposal scheme,” he stated.
Zero Waste, the groups pointed out, is the fastest, most doable and most affordable action that communities can do to cut toxic pollution from unsustainable production, consumption and disposal patterns that exacerbate climate change.
“Zero Waste is the most practical community action that can be undertaken by the barangay councils and residents to promote ecological values, conserve resources, stop the discharge of climate damaging pollutants and boost local economies,” said Manny Calonzo, Coordinator, GAIA.
“We therefore urge our barangay leaders to be the Zero Waste change leaders that our country needs, prevent and reduce waste, recycle materials safely back into nature and the economy, and cut dependency on landfills and incinerators,” he further said.
“Recognizing the essential role of the informal waste sector such as the waste pickers will further help the communities in achieving even higher waste diversion results given their immense recycling knowhow,” Calonzo added.
Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, provides a useful framework to guide communities in keeping their neighbourhoods clean and green by not resorting to littering, dumping and burning of discards, the groups said.
A GAIA report released in 2009 has listed basic elements that should form part of the desired policy shift from waste disposal to Zero Waste. These are:
-reducing waste disposal in landfills and incinerators to zero;
-investing in reuse, recycling and composting jobs and infrastructure;
-requiring that products are made to be non-toxic and recyclable;
-ensuring that manufacturers of products assume full social and environmental costs of what they produce;
-ensuring that industries reuse materials and respect worker and community rights; and
-preventing waste and reducing unnecessary consumption.