LETTER: Happy Anniversary for RA 9003?

Happy Anniversary for RA 9003?

What ever happened to the first law signed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2001?

This January 26 would be the 8th year that Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 or Republic Act 9003 was signed into law. Yet, a casual look at our littered streets, garbage-clogged canals and rivers, and overflowing, and at times smoldering, dumps is enough to show how lackluster its implementation has been.

While the law mandates the closure of all open dumps by February 2004, the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) website shows 806 open dumps still in operation. And while all “controlled” dumps should have been closed by February 2006, the Commission’s data still yield some 379 “controlled” dumps in the country.

The law emphasizes waste avoidance and volume reduction through the adoption of best practices in ecological waste management, but the mindset favoring costly, resource-destructive and climate-negative “sanitary” landfills persists especially to most of our public officials.

Instead of stopping dumping by inculcating zero waste in the minds of the public through systematic waste prevention, reduction, reusing, recycling and composting, “sanitary” landfills tell us “it’s okay” to continue with our wasteful habits.

We therefore urge the government and the entire society to be serious about implementing the law. The R.A. 9003 anniversaries would come and go, but unless serious political will is employed against violators, the event would always just come and, yes, GO!

Romeo Hidalgo
Secretary, Eco Waste Coalition
Unit, 320 Eagle Court, 26 Matalino St.
Barangay Central, QC