09 August 2010

EcoWaste Coalition Urges DOT Chief to Pursue Predecessor's "Zero Tourism Waste" Policy

Quezon City. A waste and pollution watchdog has appealed to Secretary Alberto Lim to resuscitate and enforce an environmental policy adopted by the previous leadership of the Department of Tourism (DOT).

In a letter e-mailed, faxed and delivered today to the office of Secretary Lim, the EcoWaste Coalition requested him to implement DOT Memorandum Circular No. 2005-04 signed by then Secretary Joseph Ace Durano declaring 'Zero Tourism Waste as a goal and direction for
sustainable tourism and development."

“We trust that the implementation of Zero Waste in the tourism sector will be a cornerstone of your strategy to preserve our rich cultural and natural heritage that has been attracting domestic and foreign visitors,” wrote Roy Alvarez, President, EcoWaste Coalition.

“Protecting our tourist attractions and destinations from waste and other forms of environmental abuse and neglect is key to any tourism development strategy that will bolster our competitive edge over our Asian neighbors,” he said.

Garbage, the group observed, will not draw tourists from near and afar. In addition to posing health and environmental risks, garbage spoils the beauty of our unique natural as well as Pinoy-made wonders and ultimately drive tourists away, the group said.

The EcoWaste Coalition also urged Secretary Lim to adopt “litter-free Pilipinas” as a flagship campaign of the DOT for the entire term of the Aquino presidency.

“Under your leadership, we expect the entire tourism industry to play a high-profile role in instilling environmental awareness and responsibility among all the tourism stakeholders,” Alvarez said.

“The tourism sector will benefit hugely from tidy and waste-free surroundings. Ultimately, the biggest winner in this crusade against littering will be the environment,” he emphasized.

According to the DOT Memorandum Circular 2005-04, "tourism establishments and facilities generate significant volume of waste that can be considerably reduced to zero if a policy on waste
prevention, reduction, separation at source, recycling and composting is put in place and genuinely carried out."

The same policy document seeks, among others, the:

- promotion of education and training on ecological solid waste management (ESWM) in the tourism sector;

- inclusion of ESWM as a basic requirement for the accreditation of hotels and other tourism-related establishments; and the

- greening of tourists events and destinations.

The said policy was adopted following a seminar in November 2004 on "Zero Tourism Waste" held at the DOT and co-organized by the EcoWaste Coalition, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives and the Philippine Tourism Authority.

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