Green Group to Metro Manila Residents: Embrace Eco-Waste Management to Minimize Flood Woes

PHOTO: EcoWaste Coalition

An environmental health organization has renewed its call for ecological solid waste management (ESWM) following the flash floods that recently inundated parts of Metro Manila.

The EcoWaste Coalition repeated its public appeal for waste prevention and reduction as floodwater caused by heavy monsoon rains submerged a number of streets in the metropolis affecting scores of commuters, residents and even those lining up for COVID-19 vaccine.

“We all know that Metro Manila is vulnerable to flooding due to its inherent geographical characteristics that are aggravated by other factors such as the recklessly thrown garbage clogging up the inadequate urban drainage system,” said Jove Benosa, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

According to government data, the region's 17 local government units (LGUs) generate close to 10,000 tons of trash every day.  Over 30 truckloads of garbage are collected from the 57 pumping stations operating all over the region, according to the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA). 

“While we cannot do much to alter the region’s geography, we can surely help in mitigating the floods by preventing plastics and other discards, including COVID-related waste such as used face masks, from spilling into the storm drains and waterways,” Benosa said.

The strict observance of Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, in every household and community will avoid garbage from being produced, littered and dumped in streets, vacant lots, esteros and rivers, the group said. 

R.A. 9003, the country’s waste law enacted in 2000, promotes waste avoidance and volume reduction, segregation at source, reusing, recycling, composting and other best practices in ESWM excluding incineration.

“The honest-to-goodness implementation of waste separation at source, recycling, reusing and composting will not only mitigate flooding woes, but also curb leptospirosis, dengue and other water-borne diseases during the rainy season,” Benosa said.
“LGUs should determinedly enforce the salient provisions of R.A. 9003, including penalizing those who recklessly throw their trash anywhere without any sense of guilt or shame,” he added. 

R.A. 9003 explicitly bans the dumping of waste materials in streets, canals, esteros and other public places and penalizes such environmental offenses with a fine of P300 to P1,000, or one to 15-day community service, or both.

Meanwhile, the EcoWaste Coalition appealed to the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) to issue the list of non-environmentally acceptable products and packaging (NEAPP) materials as required by R.A. 9003 to address mounting waste and pollution in the country.

Stakeholders led by Oceana Philippines last month sued the NSWMC to compel it to perform its task of issuing the NEAPP list, saying  “it was time to interpose and seek legal action on this issue.”