Newly-Installed Barangay Officials Urgedto Go Zero Waste to Solve Garbage Woes

(Photo Courtesy by Dennis Sabangan/EPA)
A waste and pollution watchdog today
called on new barangay officials who will assume office starting tomorrow, 30
November, to take priority action to prevent and reduce waste generation and
disposal in their respective communities.

“We call upon all newly-installed barangay captains and councilors to work
together in building garbage and toxic-free communities that are healthier and
safer for our children to live in,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator,
EcoWaste Coalition.

“Please take to heart the much-needed waste prevention and reduction efforts to
rid our communities of wastes and toxins, which could also pave by the way
for greater mass participation on matters pertaining to public health, the
environment and the climate,” she said.

“Such barangay-led initiatives can save lots of public funds and open up decent
employment and livelihood opportunities from the reuse, repair, recycling and
composting of waste resources,” she stated.

“Considering the dire impacts of extreme weather disturbances due to climate
change, it will be essential for all barangays to integrate Zero Waste into
their community disaster preparedness and resilience programs so that trash is
prevented and properly managed at all times, including during
post-disaster clearing operations” she added.

To start with, the new barangay councils should conduct a critical review of their
ecological solid waste management programs, reconstitute their solid waste
management committee if needed, set progressive goals and
targets, and strategize on how to improve current performance, including
maximizing the vital role of the informal waste sector.

The EcoWaste Coalition lamented that Republic Act 9003 despite being signed in
2000 remained to be inadequately enforced.

Also known as the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, R.A. 9003 provides for
a comprehensive and eco-friendly approach to managing discards mainly through
waste prevention, reduction, segregation at source, reuse, recycling and
composting, excluding waste incineration.

R.A. 9003 specifically requires the country’s over 42,000 barangays to
develop ecological solid waste management programs, promote waste
separation at source, enforce a segregated collection for biodegradable and
non-biodegradable waste, and establish Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs) in
every barangay or cluster of barangays.

The MRFs, or Ecology Centers as they are also
called, are essential in the ecological management of
discards that would otherwise end up in storm drains and rivers
aggravating flood problems, or get disposed of
in dumpsites, landfills or incinerators resulting
to the discharge of toxic leachate, greenhouse gases, persistent
organic pollutants and other hazardous substances.

According to the website of the National Solid Waste Management Commission
(NSWMC), there are only 9,611 MRFs nationwide serving 10,529
barangays, while 993 illegal dumpsites continue to operate.

As per data by the NSWMC, Metro Manila produces 8,400 to 8,600 tons of garbage
daily, or about one fourth of the national daily waste generation of some
35,000 tons.