Green Group Pushes for Proper Waste Management Amid Rising Dengue Cases in the Country

The EcoWaste Coalition has renewed its call for the ecological management of discards amid increasing dengue cases in many parts of the country.

Department of Health (DOH) data show 51,622 reported dengue cases from January 1 to June 18, 2022, which is 58% higher compared to the 32,610 reported cases during the same period in 2021. The DOH had earlier urged local authorities to mobilize dengue brigades as cases continue to rise.

“We urge all local government units (LGUs), especially the barangays, to intensify the implementation of Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, to control dengue and other common diseases during the rainy months such as cholera, leptospirosis and typhoid fever in their communities,” said Jove Benosa, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition. 

“It’s no secret that Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, the principal vector of the dengue virus, can lay eggs in anything that can hold water,” he said. “So it’s important to stop the indiscriminate disposal of plastic bags, bottles and their lids,  glass and plastic bottles, tin cans, snack packs, and used tires, which can serve as a breeding spot for virus-carrying Aedes mosquitoes.”

“The Barangay Chairperson and the Barangay Solid Waste Management Committee should rouse residents into complying with R.A. 9003 and mobilize them in the necessary campaign to find and remove mosquito breeding places in the neighborhood,” he said.

R.A. 9003 was enacted in December 2000 following the Payatas dumpsite tragedy on July 10, 2000 that killed hundreds of people and approved by then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in January 2001. It promotes waste avoidance and volume reduction, separation of discards at source, reusing, recycling, composting and other best practices in ecological solid waste management excluding incineration.

To assist in the national campaign to combat dengue, the EcoWaste Coalition urged residents to observe the following eco-tips:
  • Properly manage household discards, keeping non-biodegradables dry and clean.
  • Inspect and remove standing water at home, in your garden and neighborhood.
  • Turn over, store in a dry place or dispose of containers that may collect water.
  • Cover water drums, pails and tanks with lids or mosquito-proof mesh.
  • Empty and clean water containers thoroughly once a week.
  • Change water in flower vases weekly.
  • Remove water from pot plates every other day.
  • Clean plant pots that may harbor mosquitoes.
  • Loosen soil in potted plants to prevent water from stagnating on the surface
  • Clean animal drinking containers daily.
  • Cut or puncture tires used as roof support to avoid collecting water.
  • Clean clogged roof gutters of leaves and other debris.
As pointed out by the World Health Organization (WHO), “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.”

“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,” the WHO said, stressing “proper storage, collection and disposal of waste are essential for protecting public health.”

DOH has repeatedly advised the public to follow the government’s 4S strategy against dengue: search and destroy breeding places, secure self-protection, seek early consultation, and support fogging or spraying in hotspot areas.