THIS ONE is encouraging: the municipality of Tubungan in Iloilo province has been cited as best performing local government unit (LGU) in solid waste management for 2018. Each year, the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office conducts a search for outstanding local governments in ecological and sustainable solid waste management system.
Last year, 18 LGUs in Iloilo were considered for the award. But the province has 43 LGUs; clearly, many of them have a lot of catching up to do in the area of solid waste.
In truth, very few LGUs across the country have effectively and efficiently complied with the Solid Waste Management Act. But the fact that there are compliant local governments only means that it is doable. There is no reason, therefore, why other LGUs could not follow suit.
Nearly two decades after the law was approved, compliance rate is still very low. This is very lamentable. But hopefully, more local governments will properly implement the law, what with concerned government agencies looking into this matter so that legal actions could be undertaken.
Under the Act, all open and controlled dumpsites should now be closed and instead, sanitary landfills should have been established. Furthermore, all local governments should have a solid waste management plan, which should be submitted to and approved by the National Solid Waste Management Commission.
More importantly, the law dictates that there should be mandatory segregation of waste at source and a “no segregation, no collection” policy. All barangays should have a “materials recovery facility” where waste materials are sorted for composting and recycling and the residual waste will be brought to sanitary landfills.
We hope our local leaders have the political will to implement the law at full speed. If Tubungan can do it, certainly, other LGUs can, too. And perhaps even better.