“The swelling garbage from the festive celebration can exact a heavy toll on the budget and the environment,” Romy Hidalgo, Secretary of the EcoWaste Coalition, said.
Garbage generation in the metropolis, according to the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), increases from 3,000-4000 tons to 5,000-7,000 tons per day during the Christmas season.
Hidalgo explained that our failure to reduce what we throw means more public funds being spent for costly garbage collection and hauling to dumpsites at Pier 18 in Tondo, Manila, Tanza in Navotas, Payatas in Quezon City and to far-flung communities in Bulacan, Laguna, Pampanga and Rizal.
“Worst, garbage buried or burned converts a simple solid waste problem into a complex chemical waste problem with the formation and discharge of water-contaminating leachate, climate warming greenhouse gases and persistent organic pollutants,” Hidalgo emphasized.
“We therefore urge Metro Manila’s 12 million inhabitants to commit to a toxics-free Christmas tradition by preventing wastes and toxics through eco-friendly consumption and the 6 Rs,” Hidalgo said.
By 6 Rs, Hidalgo was referring to Reducing unnecessary purchases, Replacing toxic products in shopping list with ecological substitutes, Rejecting plastic bags and goods in multiple packaging, Reusing unwanted items and leftovers, Recycling glass, metal, paper, plastic and other recyclables, and Rotting kitchen, garden and other biodegradable discards into compost.
The EcoWaste Coalition noted that many local government units (LGUs) in Metro Manila have yet to fully comply with the requirements of Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Waste Management Act of 2000.
R.A. 9003, for instance, directs the establishment of materials recovery facilities (MRFs) in every barangay or cluster of barangays to facilitate the ecological and community-oriented program on waste reduction and management.
However, data sent by the MMDA to the EcoWaste Coalition show that only 436 out of the 1,695 barangays in the metropolis have set up their MRFs. In addition, there are 202 school-based MRFs in Metro Manila.
Another visible failure of the LGUs is the enforcement of the ban on littering, dumping and burning of discards as can be seen from the piling of illegally disposed trash in street corners, esteros and flood control stations
The EcoWaste Coalition renewed its call for the authorities and the citizens alike to get rid of the wasteful and toxic practice of dumping and burning discards on Christmas season and beyond.
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