Plea for World Water Day: Stop Choking Our Waterways with Garbage

 Old Torres St. – Juan Luna St.

 Soler St. near Masangkay St.

 Recto Ave. near Juan Luna St.

 Arlegui St.

Recto Ave. near Abad Santos St.

On the occasion of the World Water Day and the 10th
year of R.A. 9275 or the Clean Water Act on March 22, the EcoWaste Coalition,
an environmental watchdog, urged the public to stop irresponsible disposal
practices that are exterminating our esteros and water bodies. 

To call attention to this persistent problem, the group dispatched its Basura
Patrollers on March 17 and 18 to take photos of some of the esteros in Metro
Manila, particularly in the cities of Caloocan, Malabon, Manila, Quezon and

The group found the esteros in the following places
in Manila as “top” in terms of floating garbage: Recto Ave. near Jose Abad
Santos Ave., Recto Ave. near Juan Luna St., Old Torres St. – Juan Luna St.,
Soler St. near Masangkay St. and Arlegui St.

The photos can be viewed online at http://ecowastecoalition.blogspot.com

“The photos we took paint a harrowing picture of how we treat our waterways as
if these are dumpsites,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste

“While pleased with the ongoing efforts by private and public groups to
rehabilitate Estero de Paco and other  esteros, we find that reckless
waste disposal continues to spoil and clog our waterways,” she noted.

“Sooner or later, the rainy season will set in and again threaten our
communities with intermittent rains and devastating flashfloods that we all
know are exacerbated by blocked waterways,” she said.

“What more do we need to grasp the reality that whatever we recklessly throw
will return to haunt us?” she asked.

“It’s high time that we all act with environmental responsibility, reduce our
trash to the least and reuse, recycle and compost as much as we could to bring
to life our vanishing esteros,” she said.

R.A. 9275, signed by former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in 2004, applies
to water quality management in all water bodies and focuses on abatement and
control of pollution from land based sources. 

It prohibits the “discharging, depositing or causing to be deposited material
of any kind directly or indirectly into the water bodies or along the margins
of any surface water, where, the same shall be liable to be washed into such
surface water, either by tide action or by storm, floods or otherwise, which
could cause water pollution or impede natural flow in the water body.”

As documented by the group, the flotsam in the esteros is comprised mainly of
plastic-based materials such as bags, wrappers and polystyrene packaging for
food and non-food items, which are basically the same discards that are finding
their way from the esteros to Manila Bay.

A 2006 discards survey conducted by the EcoWaste Coalition and its members showed
that plastic materials constitute 76% of the floating trash in Manila Bay, with
plastic bags comprising 51%; sachets and junk food wrappers, 19%; Styrofoam
containers, 5%; hard plastics, 1%, and the rest were rubber at 10% and
biodegradable waste at 13%.

A follow-up discards survey in 2010 also found 75.55% of the collected rubbish
in Manila Bay as composed largely of plastic discards, mostly plastic bags and
polystyrene products.