17 January 2012

"A litter-free Philippines will be more fun and gratifying to visit" - EcoWaste Coalition

Now that the debates over the newly-launched tourism slogan “it’s more fun in the Philippines” have subsided, an environmental network appealed to the authorities to attend to the need of keeping tourism spots and events clean and safe.

“After a frenzied scrutiny of the official tourism catchphrase has quieted down, we urge tourism officials to turn their attention to environmental quality that can attract or keep tourists at bay,” said Roy Alvarez, President, EcoWaste Coalition.

“Poor air, water and land quality will surely not fascinate tourists who are in the hunt for places where they can safely enjoy and relax,” he said.

“Tourists would not come and spend their hard-earned money in places and activities where their health and safety can be at risk, he pointed out.

The EcoWaste Coalition specifically drew attention to littered discards and pollutant emissions that can affect and offend the sensibilities of domestic and foreign visitors alike.

“Garbage-strewn streets, waterways, beaches, markets and parks, as well as toxic fumes from smoke-belching cars and burning garbage tend to drive back tourists,” Alvarez noted.

“No tourist would want to stroll along a littered beach, swim with flotsam and in waters with high coliform counts, relax in unhygienic surroundings, gulp tainted water or breathe in unhealthy air,” he emphasized.

Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, Jr., according to Alvarez, has both the authority and obligation to integrate environmental care and protection in the strategy to augment tourist arrivals and revenues.

“We hope that under his watch Department of Tourism (DOT) Memorandum Circular 4, Series of 2005 will get revisited and strengthened, and ecological solid waste management (ESWM) in the tourism sector duly enforced,” Alvarez said.

Former Tourism Secretary Joseph Ace Durano made the policy issuance in 2005 declaring “Zero Tourism Waste as a goal and direction for sustainable tourism and development.”

The policy was adopted following a seminar on “Zero Tourism Waste” at the DOT that was co-organized by the EcoWaste Coalition, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives and the Philippine Tourism Authority.

According to the said issuance, “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 memorandum circular calls for the:

- promotion of education and training on 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 tourism destinations and events.

“A green tourism summit led by the DOT and involving all the tourism stakeholders may be a shot in the arm the tourism sector needs to enhance its competitiveness and sustainability,” Alvarez suggested.

“A litter-free Philippines will be more fun and gratifying to visit,” he stressed

-end-

1 comment:

Phil Grahm Salt said...

There is so much to be done to improve the tourism industry in the country. In Camiguin Island alone, much has to be done about solid waste issue. Recently, there has been a coordinated effort led by the local government to address that issue and it's been commendable.