Ecological solid waste management gets tough in the Philippines

The Philippines’ Environment and Natural Resources secretary, Ramon J. P. Paje has signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with 11 Metro Manila local government units (LGUs) establishing ecological solid waste management systems for homeowners associations of subdivisions and condominiums.

Under the Philippines’ Republic Act No. 9003, otherwise known as the Ecological Solid Waste Management (ESWM) Act, responsibility of ESWM is lodged with LGUs.

According to Paje, more than a decade after the law was passed, unfortunately waste management remains an environmental problem, especially in Metro Manila.

Paje explained that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is optimistic it can solve the problem. The challenge he said is to find ways to get all families in the act. In an effort to achieve this, the Department of Education (DepEd) has integrated solid waste management into the school curriculum, and is now targeting the adults to be more responsible.

As provided by the MOA, DENR is targeting the homeowners associations (HOAs) through the LGUs as partners in implementing the law, particularly its provisions on waste segregation, with the aim of dramatically cutting the volume of garbage thrown into sanitary landfills. In Metro Manila, a total of 4717 HOAs have already been identified for assistance.

The MOA targets the establishment of an ESWM system in concerned barangays (the smallest administrative division in the Philippines) and HOAs within a period of one year.

The system includes segregation at source, segregated collection, and establishment of a materials recovery facility(MRF). HOAs are mandated to divert at least 50% of their waste during the same period and should make public reports on issued ordinances, violations and model practitioners.

The LGU for its part will provide counterpart personnel, including the ‘Environmental Police’ in barangays that will assist in implementing the project’s technical, enforcement and financial aspects.

“The partnership we are forging with all local executives of Metro Manila is proof that the DENR is serious and relentless in the pursuit of our mandate on solid waste management. We are committed to extend all the necessary assistance to those helping us implement the solid waste management systems,” Paje said.

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