In the aftermath of the boisterous celebrations of the New Year’s Eve that generated massive trash, an environmental watchdog today deplored the unrestrained street dumping in the metropolis, describing it as a disgraceful way of ushering in January, the “Zero Waste Month.”
Every month of January starting this year is observed nationwide as “Zero Waste Month” as per Proclamation No. 760 issued by President Benigno S. Aquino III on May 5, 2014.
To draw public awareness about the problem, EcoWaste Coalition’s volunteers mounted wooden signages at a roadside dumpsite along EDSA near the Balintawak LRT Station in Quezon City. Dumping is rife throughout the country despite long being outlawed under Republic Act 9003, the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.
The signage reads “January is Zero Waste Month: Waste Not, Dump Not, Burn Not” (the other signage in Tagalog reads: “Walang Aksaya, Walang Basura”).
“Year in, year out, we find our surroundings buried in trash after the New Year’s revelry. In fact, the first day of the year is the busiest for street sweepers who have to clear large volumes of litter in parks and streets, as well as for garbage haulers who are in charge of refuse collection and disposal at our brimful dumps and landfills,” said Aileen Lucero, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.
“Is it not ironic that our communities are wallowing in trash on the first day of the year while the first ever ‘Zero Waste Month’ is officially observed?,” she asked.
“It’s high time that we question our wasteful practices and set them right,” she suggested.
The EcoWaste Coalition hopes that the post-revelry garbage would not see a recurrence at the impending huge gatherings this month: the feast and procession of the Black Nazarene on January 9 and the visit of Pope Francis on January 15-19, particularly the concluding Mass on January 18 at Rizal Park coinciding with the feast of the Santo Niño.
“We cannot continue trashing our nation and the planet without end. Mother Earth is not a limitless source of raw materials, nor a boundless dumping ground for our refuse,” she emphasized.
Citing data from the National Solid Waste Management Commission, the EcoWaste Coalition warned that solid waste generation is projected to rise from 38,757 tons per day in 2014 to 39,422 tons per day in 2015 “due to rapid increase of population, industrialization and development of our economy.”
Metro Manila’s population of over 12 million spread in 17 local government units is expected to generate 9,060 tons of waste per day in 2015, up from 8,907 tons per day in 2014.
“Together, we can avert such wasteful scenario by deliberately reducing what we throw away, by segregating our discards at source, by reusing, recycling and composting more, by going Zero Waste,” Lucero stated.
“Zero Waste,” according to the said presidential proclamation, “is an advocacy to systematically avoid and eliminate the volume and toxicity of waste, conserve and recover all resources and not indiscriminately dispose or burn them.”