An environmental watchdog called for the stringent implementation of two major environmental laws to prevent chronic flashfloods in Metro Manila’s streets.
“We call on all local government units to ensure that R.A. 9003 and R.A. 9275 are faithfully enforced in their areas of jurisdiction to minimize floods aggravated by clogged canals and creeks,” said Aileen Lucero, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition.
R.A. 9003 (the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act) prohibits littering, open dumping and other acts that pose harm to health and sanitation, while R.A. 9275 (the Clean Water Act) prohibits the discharging of materials that could cause water pollution or impede the natural flow in the water body.
“We likewise appeal to all households and business establishments to stop indiscriminate garbage disposal knowing that what we carelessly dispose of will come back to haunt our families and communities. As the saying goes: 'basurang tinapon mo, babalik sa iyo',” Lucero said.
“Recklessly thrown discards from the tiny but toxic cigarette filters to the ubiquitous plastic bags and Styrofoam containers can block water channels and cause flashfloods,” she said.
“Local authorities should deploy environmental police to catch and charge offenders,” she suggested.
Under R.A. 9003, litterbugs can be fined from P300 to P1,00, compelled to undertake community service or be required to pay the fine as well as render community service, while violators of R.A. 9275 can be fined not less than P10,000 to not more P200,000 for every day of violation.
Lucero noted that plastic-based waste materials indiscriminately-thrown in storm drains and esteros end up polluting the Manila Bay.
She cited last year’s waste audit conducted by EcoWaste Coalition, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Greenpeace, and Mother Earth Foundation in the Manila Bay that showed plastic wastes topping the bay’s flotsam at 61.9%.
Discards surveys conducted by the same groups in 2010 and 2006 found 75 to 76% of the trash floating on Manila Bay as comprised mainly of plastic wastes, mostly plastic bags and polystyrene products.
The EcoWaste Coalition also asked the Department of Public Works and Highways to prosecute erring contractors that have unduly delayed drainage and road projects, aggravating the flood as well as traffic situation in the metropolis.