Advocacy Disaster Preparedness Environment Zero Waste

Disaster Preparedness and Zero Waste Advocates Plead for Proper Waste Management as Communities Brace for Typhoon Ompong

NASA Earth Observatory image by Lauren Dauphin, using VIIRS data from the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership.

14 September 2018.  Environmentalists were quick to remind the public to mind their trash as communities in large sections of the country, particularly in Luzon and Metro Manila, brace for the onslaught of typhoon Ompong.

Noli Abinales, Adviser of Buklod Tao and Board Member of the EcoWaste Coalition, urged affected citizens to make it a point to include the ecological management of discards before, during and after Ompong as an essential  part of the household and community preparation for the severe weather disturbance.

“Waste prevention and reduction is a key component of any effective community-based disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM).  The faithful implementation of good practices in ecological waste management will help in reducing the typhoon’s impact to community health and the environment,” said Abinales, a resident of San Mateo, Rizal and survivor of the deadly typhoon Ondoy in 2009.

“We need to cut the volume of what we throw out as our dumpsites are already bursting at the seams.  We need to ensure as well that what we dispose of are safely managed so as not to pose harm to our families, neighbors, waste workers, and our fragile ecosystems as a whole,” he added.

A DRRM champion, Abinales emphasized that ecological solid waste management should be incorporated in all phases of DRRM strategy, including, disaster prevention and mitigation, preparedness, response, and rehabilitation and reconstruction.

“Attesting to the importance of ESWM was the recent risk profiling of our community’s vulnerable groups conducted last summer.  Women, older persons, persons with disabilities and youth singled out mismanaged waste as one disaster risk factor.  Its consequences or impacts to our communities include , clogged drainage and esteros, exposure to illness and unhealthy environment,” he said.

“Ecological solid waste management is an essential element of any DRRM strategy that has to be put in place even before a disaster strikes, ” he emphasized.

For his part, Daniel Alejandre, Zero Waste Campaigner of the EcoWaste Coalition, called on all the Barangay Solid Waste Management Boards (BSWMBs) to  take the lead in enforcing Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, as part of the community preparation for typhoon Ompong.

“The vigorous enforcement of R.A. 9003, led by active BSWMBs, will complement the DRRM efforts by the public and private sectors and should be strongly supported by all as this will make the lives of everyone, especially the vulnerable groups, cleaner and safer,” he said.

Both Buklod Tao and the EcoWaste Coalition expressed their hopes that communities located in the path of typhoon Ompong will weather the storm.