WE REPORTED recently that before this year is over, all local government units (LGUs) in Iloilo province – 42 municipalities and one component city – are expected to have 10-year solid waste management plans. According to the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office, the 15 remaining LGUs are expected to submit and defend their proposed plans before the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) this month. These plans lay down practical and sustainable strategies to combat solid waste.
The plans are actually long overdue. LGUs have the obligation to implement Republic Act (RA) 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management (ESWM) Law, or face the legal consequences of non-compliance. More LGUs must be encouraged, if not compelled, to take up their responsibility of implementing this law and all other environmental laws to ensure safe, clean, disaster-resilient and sustainable communities.
Three years ago for example, the NSWMC filed complaints at the Ombudsman against 50 LGUs for violating RA 9003. This is unfortunate. But those who cannot comply must face the legal consequences. The law must be implemented.
Under RA 9003, all LGUs should have a solid waste management plan, which should be submitted to and approved by the NSWMC. Furthermore, all open and controlled dumpsites should be closed and instead sanitary landfills should been established.
More importantly, 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. The law dictates that there should be mandatory segregation of waste at source and a “no segregation, no collection” policy.
Several LGUs have effectively and efficiently complied with the ESWM Law. The fact that there are compliant LGUs only means it is doable. There is no reason why other LGUs could not follow suit.