EcoWaste Coalition Sounds the Alarm Bell over Low Public Awareness of Waste Law

Quezon City. The environmental advocacy group EcoWaste Coalition expressed shock over the dismally low public awareness of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act seven years after it was signed into a law.

The Social Weather Survey commissioned by Greenpeace, a member of the EcoWaste Coalition, showed that 50% of the respondents are not aware of environmental laws passed to help prevent pollution in the country, while only 27% are aware of Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.

“Government agencies tasked to implement R.A. 9003 must go beyond rhetoric and match their words with action,” said actor – environmental advocate Roy Alvarez of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Steering Committee.

“The low public awareness of Republic Act 9003 among the respondents is a sad indictment of how the law is poorly implemented and a clear indicator that some people are sleeping on their job,” Alvarez added,

R.A. 9003, enacted by both houses of the Congress in December 2000 and signed into law by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on January 26, 2001, provides for a comprehensive and ecological approach for managing discards mainly through combined waste prevention, reduction, segregation at source, reuse, recycling and composting.

The same survey disclosed that 40% of the respondents believe that environmental laws are “rarely enforced,” 29 % “occasionally enforced,” 15% “often enforced” and 8% “almost always enforced.”

“The survey results only reinforce what we have been saying all along: the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) has miserably failed in effectively discharging its role under R.A. 9003 and has to be revamped,” Alvarez said.

The multi-agency NSWMC, which is under the Office of the President, is tasked to oversee the implementation of ecological solid waste management plans and to prescribe policies to achieve the objectives of the law.

The survey results should cause the NSWMC, headed by Environment Secretary Joselito Atienza, to move and properly enforce the law, which was fast tracked in response to the tragic garbageslide that befell residents living next to the infamous Payatas dump in Quezon City on July 10, 2000.

According to the website of the Social Weather Station (SWS), the survey was conducted using face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults from Mindanao, Visayas, Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon from November 30 to December 3, 2007. Greenpeace released the survey results in a press conference on January 25, 2008.

EcoWaste Coalition
Unit 320, Eagle Court Condominium, Matalino St.
Quezon City, Philippines
+63 2 9290376