17 June 2012

"Waste and Dump No More" to Avert Flash Floods" (LGUs, Households Urged to Step Up Waste Reduction Efforts)



Environmental groups today called on the general public to halt indiscriminate wasting and dumping to prevent perennial flash floods that turn our streets into filthy “swimming pools.”

The EcoWaste Coalition and the Mother Earth Foundation also reiterated their appeal for everyone to reduce, reuse, recycle and compost as much as they could to cut Metro Manila’s swelling garbage at 8,600 tons daily.

“The cold-hearted practice of some people of throwing their discards anywhere is a major cause of instant flooding after heavy downpour,” said Froilan Grate, NGO representative to the Metro Manila Solid Waste Management Board.

“Cigarette butts, plastic bags, food leftovers and other rubbish that uncaring people dump everywhere eventually clog the storm drains and waterways, causing flash floods,” he explained.

“Dumped waste materials also cause pumping stations, which are meant to control flood waters, to slow or break down,” he lamented.

Flash floods can harm and even kill humans and animals, diffuse bacterial and chemical contaminants, pollute drinking water, spread water-borne ailments,disrupt public utilities, damage properties and cause economic losses, the groups noted.

The groups pointed out that the Metro Manila Development Authority’s quarterly clearing and dredging operations called “estero blitz” will be a huge waste of resources if dumping remains unrestrained.

“The ecological management of discards is a critical component in any complete flood prevention and management program,” Grate said, stressing that individual, family and community participation is the key for its success.

“We call on all barangay councils to exercise effective leadership in educating and mobilizing our people to waste and dump no more for healthier and safer communities,” he stated.

Considering the special needs of informal settlers, especially those living along creeks and rivers, the EcoWaste Coalition and the Mother Earth Foundation urged the authorities to ensure that constant efforts are made to inform and assist them in managing their discards.

“The informal settlements are here to stay unless and until we have fully addressed the needs of our people for humane and sustainable employment,livelihood and housing,” they noted.

“In the meantime, we urge the government to invest more in uplifting their living environments, including implementing a program on ecological waste management program that will cater to their specific conditions,” the groups said.

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