Government alone cannot solve the country’s garbage crisis, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources said on Sunday.
“Solid waste management is not the government’s responsibility alone. It is everyone’s business,” Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units Concerns Benny Antiporda said.
He called for concerted efforts from the public as well as from all stakeholders to address the problem.
Without a concerted effort, the garbage situation threatens to get worse, he said.
“We shouldn’t wait for the time when there are more trash than fish in the ocean,” he added.
Antiporda is the agency’s National Solid Waste Management Commission chairperson.
Secretary Roy Cimatu has declared that the country, particularly Metro Manila, “is in the middle of a garbage crisis.”
His declaration came amid government efforts to revive the heavily-polluted Manila Bay, the repository of trash and untreated sewage from households and businesses in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.
Antiporda said local governments play a crucial role in solid waste management, having been tasked to ensure proper waste segregation and disposal under Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.
The law requires the LGUs to come up with a 10-year solid waste management plan and convert open dumps into sanitary landfills.
Antiporda said the citizens could also help in solving the garbage woes by observing proper waste segregation and disposal, and not throwing rubbish anywhere.
“If we do not properly manage our waste, it can end up in drains and rivers, and eventually makes its way to the sea,” he said.
The rehabilitation efforts of the Manila Bay would be futile if there is no effective implementation of the solid waste management in the localities surrounding the Manila Bay.
Meanwhile, Senator Cynthia Villar said that the Senate has allocated a portion in the 2020 budget of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for recycling of wastes nationwide.
Interviewed over DWIZ, Villar, chair of the Senate Environment committee, said every province and city will be given a plastic factory while every town will be provided with a composting facility.
“They will be required to recycle. We’ll see, we haven’t done any hearing on it. We will do it January (2020),” said Villar as she related that she and former Sen. Loren Legarda had alloted a budget for recycling of wastes four years ago.
However, plastic was not included in the recycling process which covers only kitchen and plastic wastes which wasn’t implemented.
She said that the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) will build recycling factories across the country as mandated under the law. “Recycling of plastic wastes, ngwyon lang nalagay sa budget,” she added.
Villar said what they wanted is an “extended producers’ responsibility”— that it is their respnsibilit to recycle 5eir wastes.
“Because when we say ‘ban,’ is there a replacement for packaging. That’s the question. So we have to heqr their alternative on single use plastic,” explained the senator, a known advocate for a clean and healthy environment.
According to Villar, she still does not know if producers and manufacturers already have a replacement for the use plastic as a form of packaging once they get rid of them.
So if they have no replacement for plastic, Villar cited the need to recycle.
“If they cannot replace their (plastic) packaging, then the have to do a project commensurwte to whwt the6 we producing. Sometimes, they have a project, but it’s not commensurate to the amoint they are producing.
Villar said she has three plastic recycling factories, located in Las Pinas, Iloilo and Cagayan de Oro City- that convert plastic wastes into durable school chairs.
The idea , she related, was that if there were asking for plastic chairs for public schools, their end product is waste plastic plastic chairs to those asking for them.
She said that at present, there are several proposed measures on either a total or partial ban on the use of plastic.
“We really have to hear because we need to know. We just cannot lose a company since “we are also dealing here with employment,” Villar said.
Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu had said that clean-up operations are not enough to fix the garbage problems the National Capital Region, where nearly 13-million people live. He underscored the need for cooperation among the people.
“We and the following generations will all suffer the consequences if we do not change the way we behave as an organization and as individuals,” Cimatu told a forum.
He said there must be a change of attitude to be able to reduce the volume of trash.
Cimatu said to achieve this, environment officials supported President Rodrigo Duterte’s position to ban single-use plastics.