The plea came as both scientists and environmentalists underscored the need to cut back climate-changing emissions from polluting human activities, including wasteful consumption and disposal practices.
“The leachate, methane gas, dioxin and other toxic chemicals from dumpsites poison the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the land where we harvest the food we eat,” reminded Romeo Hidalgo of Task Force Landfills/Dumpsites of Eco Waste Coalition.
“The Philippines, with the rest of the whole world, is currently threatened by global warming and its irreversible and grave effects.
Methane from dumps aggravates the climate change problem,” added Joey Papa of Bangon Kalikasan Movement.
Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 prohibits open and controlled dumps. The law advances ecological alternatives for managing discards through combined waste prevention, reduction, segregation at source, reuse, recycling and composting and other policies and activities “which do not harm the environment.”
R.A. 9003 further calls for the establishment of Materials Recovery Facility (MRF), also known as ecology center, in every barangay or cluster of barangays. Currently, only 1,723 MRFs exist, which is hardly adequate to serve the needs of the country's 42,000 barangays.
While appealing for the closure, clean up and rehabilitation of all dumps, the EcoWaste Coalition is also calling on all citizens to take concrete steps to reduce waste size and toxicity, and avoid climate change.
The EcoWaste Coalition has come up with the following list of steps that concerned citizens can take to reduce waste and prevent climate change. The initiative is in response to the urgent need to cut greenhouse gas emissions from polluting human activities, including waste dumping.
· Check for things that can be repaired or reused before purchasing new ones.
· Use bayong or other reusable carry bags when you shop.
· Opt for products with the least packaging.
· Find out and try nontoxic substitutes to personal, household and office items containing hazardous chemicals.
· Reduce hazards at home and workplace by using safer products or practices to achieve the task at hand.
· Pick reusable products that can be cleaned and used time and again. Avoid single-use disposables.
· Reuse bags, bottles, cans and other containers to extend their life span.
· Consider borrowing, renting or sharing seldom-used items to save money and conserve resources.
· Sell or give surplus items to charities or neighbors instead of throwing them out.
· Separate discards at source, recycle, compost.
· Patronize products made from recycled materials.
· Choose recyclable products and containers and recycle them.
· Share practical information on waste prevention, reduction, recycling and composting to community members and friends.
· Support and get involved in your community Ecology Centers or Materials Recovery Facilities.
· Work with community leaders to tap waste pickers as formal partners in the safe and organized recycling of segregated discards.
· Write to manufactures to make your preference for ecological products with less packaging and less hazardous components known.
· Pressure local government officials to close illegal dumps and manage discards ecologically.
For more information, please contact the EcoWaste Coalition at 9290376.