04 February 2018

Group Pushes for Active Enforcement of Environmental Ordinances, Replication of Good Practices to Solve Manila's Garbage Woes

 An obvious but often ignored reminder urging Manileños not to litter.
Garbage temporarily dumped in front of a public park and children's playground in Pedro Gil St.  Photo taken on 2 January 2018.
Trash piles up along Pedro Gil St. near Taft Ave.  Photo taken on 3 February 2018.

Reacting to Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada’s latest appeal to Manileños to mind their garbage, the EcoWaste Coalition urged the local government to strictly enforce the city's ordinances for a cleaner environment.

Last Thursday, Estrada appealed anew to Manila’s 1.8 million residents to reduce their trash generation estimated at more than 2,000 tons per day with a big portion of the wasted ending up in the streets, drainage pipes and waterways as reported by the city’s Department of Public Services.

“Mayor Erap has repeatedly sought public cooperation to address Manila’s monstrous garbage problem, and his appeal seems to fall on deaf ears,” stated Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

“Despite putting up the signage ‘kung hindi mo kayang linisin ang kapaligiran, huwag mo na lang dumihan’ all over the city, Manila continues to be plagued by litter and trash,” she said.

“Perhaps it’s high time for the city government to try a different tack in order to clean up the capital city,” she suggested.

Manila will not start from scratch, the EcoWaste Coalition emphasized.

“Relevant city ordinances already exist and should be actively enforced.  And good practices in ecological solid waste management at various levels and settings, we believe, are on hand waiting to be recognized, supported and replicated,” Lucero said.

“While it’s important to implement the anti-littering ordinance issued in 1994, Manila should fully enforce the plastic bag ban ordinance approved in 2012, and the encompassing Environmental Code that Erap himself signed in 2014,” she said.

City Ordinance 8371 provides for the Environmental Code that aims to protect the city’s environment from further degradation and promote sustainable development with strong participation from stakeholders. 

In line with Estrada’s 10-point agenda that includes “cleanliness,” the EcoWaste Coalition urged the city to realize its plan to “establish an effective solid waste management system.”

“If holistically and seriously implemented with nonstop public information and education, the planned system can help a lot in preventing and reducing garbage, while creating waste-related jobs and enterprises,” Lucero said.

With a big number of informal waste workers living and working in Manila, the EcoWaste Coalition also urged the city authorities to look at how this thriving sector can be integrated into the system.

“The inclusion of the informal waste sector into the system can yield a lot of benefits, especially in promoting secured employment, decent livelihood and access to social services among waste pickers and recyclers, and in improving their working environment, which can be very hazardous and toxic,” Lucero added.

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