21 March 2009

Stiffer Fines Backed to Deter Litterbugs and Save Dying Water Bodies

MANILA CITY. The EcoWaste Coalition welcomed the decision of the City Council of Manila imposing higher fines to put a stop to illegal waste disposal.

“The passage of the city ordinance increasing fines for litterbugs is a step in the right direction. If strictly enforced, the hefty fines can deter litterbugs who are unwittingly exterminating our water bodies,” Eileen Sison of the EcoWaste Coalition said.

“It’s a well-timed move as the World Water Day is observed amid mounting concern over the declining health of the marine ecosystems due to unchecked dumping of plastic trash and other discards from land-based sources,” Sison emphasized..

The World Water Day, held yearly on March 22, aims to promote global awareness and action on the importance of freshwater and to push for sustainable management of freshwater resources.

“We congratulate Councilor Numero ‘Uno’ Lim and the City Council for this judicious action. It’s high time to make polluters pay for dirtying the environment and to recover the huge amount of resources being spent for clean-up efforts of the perennially clogged waterways,” Sison stated.

Councilor Lim, a steadfast champion of various environmental concerns, authored the ordinance amending Section 3 of ordinance 7404 on solid waste disposal practices.

Lim’s ordinance, approved on 10 March 2009, increases the P100-500 fines for open dumping in vacant lots or properties, esteros and other water bodies to P1,000 for first offense, P2,000 for second offense and P5,000 for third and succeeding offenses.

In a joint press release with the EcoWaste Coalition, Lim expressed disgust over the unrestrained dumping of trash in the city’s river system, particularly in Tondo, Manila.

“Our waterways are choking from illegally-thrown trash. Plastic bags and other single-use disposable products and packaging are blocking the natural flow of water and causing health and safety hazards to our communities,” Lim lamented.

“I’ve sought the City Council’s support for hefty fines against violators to halt the illegal disposal that is killing our water bodies,” he added.

Lim pointed out that the ordinance was passed “to heighten ecological awareness among Manila residents and also to encourage other local government units to promote environmental action in the hope of making the Philippines cleaner and a better place to live in.”

According to the EcoWaste Coalition, Manila’s heightened action against litterbugs serves the goals of two major environmental laws: R.A. 9003 and R.A. 9275.

Both R.A. 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act and R.A. 9275 or the Clean Water Act prohibit the open dumping of waste matters.

R.A. 9275 specifically bans the direct or indirect discharge of waste into water bodies, which could cause water pollution or impede natural flow in the water body.

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