Quezon City. This is the united call of green groups under the EcoWaste Coalition as they converge this morning at the gate of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to mark the 9th anniversary of the signing of Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.
The groups urged the 10 presidential aspirants running in the 2010 polls as well as the National Solid Waste Management Commission, which is headed by the DENR, to lead the country out of wastefulness by putting into action a national strategy based on Zero Waste.
Zero Waste seeks to eliminate wasting and ensure the full and beneficial use of resources in order to restore ecological balance and provide for the needs of all people, the EcoWaste Coalition stated.
The combined and creative application of waste prevention, reduction, segregation at source, reusing, recycling and composting are basic features of ecological waste management - a key component of a Zero Waste strategy.
To emphasize their message, EcoWaste Coalition volunteers wore masks of the 10 presidential hopefuls (ex-President Estrada, Senators Aquino, Gordon, Madrigal and Villar, ex-Defense Secretary Teodoro, Councilor de los Reyes, environmentalist Perlas, evangelist Villanueva and consultant Acosta) while holding placards that say “Zero Waste: panata ko ipatutupad ko” and “I pledge to implement Zero Waste.”
“We hope that the next President will prioritize the enforcement of R.A. 9003, inspire the nation to embrace Zero Waste and halt the wasteful, climate-damaging and costly practice of littering, dumping and burning discards,” Rei Panaligan, Coordinator of the EcoWaste
Coalition, said in a statement.
“The next President should see to it that the 1,234 dumpsites all over the country will be closed, cleaned up, rehabilitated and replaced with community-centered ecology centers or Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs),” added Romy Hidalgo, head of the Coalition’s Task Force on Dumps/Landfills.
The EcoWaste Coalition lamented the present garbage and waste situation in the country, citing the following deplorable facts and figures:
- Low public awareness of RA 9003 at 27% (based on Greenpeace/SWS survey during the last quarter of 2007)
- Continued violation of dump closure provisions of RA 9003 (according to the NSWMC’s fourth quarter of 2009 data, there are 838 open dumps and 396 controlled dumps operating in the country)
- Slow progress in establishing community-based materials recovery facilities or MRFs (according to the NSWMC’s fourth quarter of 2009 data, there are 6,141 MRFs serving 6,744 barangays out of country’s 42,000 barangays)
- Low compliance to the required segregation of discards at the point of generation.
- Unacceptable siting of “sanitary” landfills in watersheds and protected areas, such as the San Mateo landfill in Marikina and the Ternate landfill in Mt. Palay-Palay in Cavite.
- Poor performance of the NSWMC and the local government units in stopping acts explicitly prohibited in the law, such as littering, open burning, open dumping, construction of dumps in environmentally critical areas, and the manufacture, distribution, use or importation of non-environmentally acceptable products and services.
The EcoWaste Coalition further urged the 10 presidential aspirants to champion and ensure funding for a National Ecological Solid Waste Management System (NESWMS) anchored on waste prevention, volume and toxicity elimination or reduction, segregation at source, reusing, recycling and composting, and not on costly and polluting landfills and incinerators.
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