20 September 2014

EcoWaste Coalition Pushes for Ecological Post-Flooding Cleanup

Quezon City.  A waste and pollution watchdog exhorted affected households, establishments and communities to minimize trash as they clean up the mess left by the floods spawned by southwest monsoon and tropical storm “Mario.”

In a statement, the EcoWaste Coalition expressed sympathy with the flood victims in Metro Manila and other regions as the group reminded all citizens of the many benefits of retrieving, reusing and recycling post-disaster waste.

"Please refrain from haphazardly throwing your discards and instead salvage those that can still be put to good use,” reminded Tin Vergara, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“It may be convenient to throw everything to the bin and wait for the waste collector to come, but this will not truly solve the problem,” she emphasized.

“By exerting a little effort to sort your discards for recycling, we reduce the volume of residual trash that is sent for final disposal,” she added.

Ecological post-disaster cleanup means reduced workload and occupational hazard for waste and sanitation personnel, reduced wastage, reduced dump truck trips, as well as reduced greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation and disposal of mixed garbage, the Zero Waste alliance said.

According to the Philippine Climate Change Assessment Report, garbage is the third biggest contributor of greenhouse gas emissions in the country, with methane from dumpsites and landfills comprising the biggest part followed by nitrous oxide from wastewater.

The group added that certain waste streams require special handling to prevent the possible spread of disease, physical harm or exposure to hazardous substances.

For instance, electronic waste (e-waste) should not be burned or dumped along with regular trash as unsafe disposal will diffuse their toxic components such as lead and mercury into the surroundings, harm human health and pollute the environment.

Some of the more common e-waste in the aftermath of a disaster include flood-soaked radio and TV sets and other electrical appliances and gadgets, busted fluorescent lamps and spent batteries, the group noted.

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