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Solid waste mgt is doable
IN THE 2016 national budget, P500 million is allocated under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR) Environmental Management Bureau for capacity-building programs for local government units (LGUs). The objective is to ensure the implementation of the Ecological Solid Waste Management (ESWM) Law.
There is no acceptable excuse for non-compliance to the law. What we really need is for local leaders to have the political will to implement the law at full speed. Thus President Duterte’s pronouncement to look into the LGUs’ discretionary funds and how they are using it to manage garbage in their respective communities is most welcome. There is no reason for LGUs not to effectively manage solid waste in their localities. Aside from having discretionary funds, the ecological management of solid waste is mandated by law.
For 15 years now, we have the EWSM Law (Republic Act 9003). It aims to create a clean and healthy environment using a system of solid waste management that starts with segregation of garbage at its source, segregated transportation, processing, treatment and proper disposal of solid waste. It emphasizes on recycling so that less garbage is actually brought to the sanitary landfill and those brought to the final disposal site are effectively maintained.
However, majority of LGUs have yet to comply with RA 9003, particularly on the decentralization of waste collection, submission of Solid Waste Management (SWM) Plan, establishment of local SWM boards, establishment of Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs), closure of all open and controlled dumpsites, and mandatory waste diversion. According to the DENR, as of 2015 only 36 percent of LGUs have complied with all aspects of this legislation.
Earlier this year, the Ombudsman filed cases against non-compliant LGUs, particularly those that still operate open dumpsites, have not built MRFs, do not implement segregation at source, and have not submitted a 10-year SWM Plan. This is unfortunate. The fact that there are compliant LGUs only means it is doable. There is no reason why other LGUs could not follow suit.