EcoWaste Coalition: Habagat Floods Made Worse by Garbage Dumping

The inundation of some streets in Metro Manila yesterday due to the heavy rains has again bared our cities’ chronic battle with reckless waste disposal.

The EcoWaste Coalition, a waste and pollution watchdog, deplored the remorseless dumping of garbage in the streets and waterways for aggravating the floods triggered by Habagat (southwest) monsoon rains and enhanced by tropical storm “Gorio.”

“The rainwater will not drain fast enough to Pasig River and its tributaries if the storm drains and creeks are clogged with trash,” said Daniel Alejandre, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to grasp the need to keep the waterways free of rubbish and debris to allow the water to freely flow and minimize flooding, but many have yet to realize what we recklessly throw on the ground or estero will come back to haunt and harm us,” he noted.    

“Waste and sanitation workers often have to use excavating equipment to remove truckloads of trash from our clogged waterways,” he said.

Alejandre cited data from the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) showing that some 757 truckloads of trash and silt, or about 5,250 cubic meters, were removed from various waterways from March 1 to May 17, 2017 as part of the agency’s yearly Estero Blitz program.  

“Discarded plastic bags, packaging  items, diapers, clothes, tsinelas and other waste materials hinder the efficient operation of MMDA’s pumping stations, which pump floodwaters from the esteros,” he emphasized.  

“Flood pumping stations cannot mitigate flood events if these are blocked with trash,” he added.

To help in averting floods,  the EcoWaste Coalition appealed to the public to break the filthy habit of throwing garbage in the streets and waterways, and to embrace the 5Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle, rethink and respect) instead.

The group exhorted the public, especially the households, to segregate their discards at source to facilitate the reusing, recycling and composting of waste materials in line with Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.

The group likewise urged the local authorities, particularly the city and municipal mayors and the barangay captains, to actively implement R.A. 9003 within their areas of jurisdiction and to use the full force of the law to ensure compliance.

The honest-to-goodness enforcement of R.A. 9003 will reduce the volume and toxicity of garbage, cut hauling costs, control environmental pollution, conserve resources, prevent spillage of plastic litter to the oceans, and create sustainable jobs and livelihoods, the EcoWaste Coalition said.

Based on the estimates of the National Solid Waste Management Commission, the country generates 40,087 tons of trash daily, of which 9,213 tons come from Metro Manila’s 17 local government units.


Reference: /news-2017/2503-mmda-collects- over-750-truckloads-of-garbage -silt-from-metro-manila- waterways ault3.aspx