Break the filthy habit

THE INUNDATION –again – of some streets in Iloilo City due to the heavy rains has — again – reminded us of our chronic battle with reckless waste disposal. Yes, this is a nationwide concern. The remorseless dumping of garbage in the streets and waterways aggravate the floods triggered by monsoon rains. The rainwater will not drain fast enough if storm drains are clogged with trash.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to grasp the need to keep the waterways free of rubbish and debris to allow the water to freely flow and minimize flooding, but many have yet to realize what we recklessly throw on the ground or estero will come back to haunt and harm us.  

Waste and sanitation workers often have to use excavating equipment to remove truckloads of trash from our clogged waterways. These discarded items usually include plastic bags, packaging  items, diapers, clothes, tsinelas and other waste materials.

The public should break the filthy habit of throwing garbage in the streets and waterways, and to embrace the 5Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle, rethink and respect) instead. Households, especially, must segregate their discards at source to facilitate the reusing, recycling and composting of waste materials in line with Republic Act (RA) 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.

Local authorities, particularly the city and municipal mayors and the barangay captains, to actively implement RA 9003 within their areas of jurisdiction and to use the full force of the law to ensure compliance.

The honest-to-goodness enforcement of RA 9003 will reduce the volume and toxicity of garbage, cut hauling costs, control environmental pollution, conserve resources, prevent spillage of plastic litter to the oceans, and even create sustainable jobs and livelihoods.

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