Zero Waste Group Urges Metro Residents to Temper Throwaway Culture as Churches Mark "Season of Creation"

Photo Courtesy of Dennis Sabangan/EPA
In response to the call by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle for lay participation in the observance of the “Season of Creation,” the EcoWaste Coalition, an environmental watchdog, appealed to Metro Manila’s 12 million residents to embrace waste prevention and recycling as a daily habit.

The group, which espouses  Zero Waste resource management sans incineration, said that the national capital region’s projected waste generation in 2014 of 9,060 tons per day, up from 8,601 in 2012, could be dramatically reduced if all waste generators – a person, household, institution, business and industry – consume responsibly and tame, if not forsake, the ever growing throwaway culture.  

Citing data from the National Solid Waste Management Commission, the EcoWaste Coalition described Metro Manila’s trash as 52% biodegradable, 41% recyclable, and  7% residual.   

“As the Season of Creation is observed, we exhort everyone to reflect on the throwaway culture that has seeped into our consciousness and way of life as if the earth’s resources are limitless,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition.  

“As if we live on an infinite planet with perpetual resources to exploit and bottomless dumpsites and landfills to bury our trash,” she added.

“Let us subdue our wasteful culture and shrink our garbage and its toxicity to the minimum by preventing useful stuff that can be reused, repaired, repurposed, recycled or composted from being dumped or incinerated,” she pleaded.

Pope Francis had previously asked the faithful “to combat the culture of waste and of throwing out so as to foster a culture of solidarity and encounter,” Lucero said, recalling the papal message for World Environment Day last year. 

Zero Waste resource management, she pointed out, will not only conserve resources from being squandered while protecting the environment and the climate, but will safeguard the health of people who eke out a living from collecting and recycling waste, including the waste pickers - the least protected sector in the recycling chain.

Zero Waste offers an opportunity to fuse and deepen the inherent linkage between “environmental ecology” and “human ecology,” with the huge potential of enhancing the people’s quality of life, the group noted.

Aside from reminding the public to segregate their discards and refrain from mixed waste disposal and dumping, the group also urged the public to stop the toxic practice of open burning.

A report released last week showed that the open burning of domestic waste “is pumping far more pollution into the atmosphere,” saying that “that more than 40 percent of the world's garbage is burned in such fires, with emissions that can substantially affect human health and climate.”