As the Dengvaxia vaccine controversy rages, the EcoWaste Coalition today urged the nation’s local government units (LGUs) to enhance the enforcement of Republic Act 9003 to keep dengue-causing mosquitoes away and save children's lives.
Also known as the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, R.A. 9003 provides the legal framework for systematic, comprehensive and ecological solid waste management program that will ensure the protection of public health and the environment.
The law, which marks its 17th anniversary on January 26, provides for essential waste prevention and reduction strategies, including waste segregation at source, reusing, recycling and composting for cleaner and healthier communities.
“Our LGUs, particularly the barangays, have a special role to play in keeping our communities dengue-free by ensuring that discards do not collect water and serve as breeding grounds for Aedes aegypti mosquitoes,” said Daniel Alejandre, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.
“Indiscriminately disposed of beverage and food containers, used tires, and even garbage bins can hold water where these dreaded mosquitoes can lay eggs,” he warned.
“The Barangay Solid Waste Management Committee, together with the Barangay Health Committee, should take the initiative to search and destroy mosquito breeding places in the neighborhood,” he said.
Local chief executives and their environmental and health officers should support barangay-led efforts to promote and carry out ecological solid waste management as a proactive defense against dengue, the EcoWaste Coalition said.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that “applying many of the basic principles (of solid waste management) can contribute substantially to reducing Aedes aegypti larval habitats,” adding that “the basic rule of ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ is highly applicable.”
“Proper storage, collection and disposal of waste are essential for protecting public health,” the WHO pointed out.
According to the WHO, “efforts to reduce solid waste should be directed against discarded or non-essential containers, particularly if they have been identified in the community as important mosquito-producing containers.”
Aside from depriving Aedes aegypti mosquitoes places to breed, the enforcement of R.A. 9003, the EcoWaste Coalition said, will bring huge benefits to overall community health, environment and economy.
“R.A. 9003’s implementation will further 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 for local communities,” the group said.