Friday, October 10, 2014
MANILA-Senator Loren Legarda today renewed her call for local government units (LGUs) to implement Republic Act No. 9003, The Ecological Solid Waste Management (ESWM) Law, which was enacted 13 years ago.
Legarda, principal author and sponsor of the law, lamented that many LGUs have yet to comply with the ESWM Law citing difficulties in implementation.
“It is always a challenge to implement a new law, but if we only take that first crucial step of actually trying to do it, maybe we could have already reached 100 percent full compliance rate 13 years after the law was enacted,” she said.
“The key here is to teach every citizen to properly manage their waste materials at home. That goes the same for every school, private and public offices, industrial and commercial establishments. That is why we need to tap our barangay leaders because they should be responsible for the segregation of biodegradable, compostable and reusable waste, while the municipal or city government will collect the non-recyclable materials and special waste,” Legarda explained.
Under RA 9003, all LGUs should have a solid waste management plan, which should be submitted to and approved by the National Solid Waste Management Commission.
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 (MRF), where waste materials are sorted for composting and recycling and the residual waste will be brought to sanitary landfills.
Furthermore, all open and controlled dumpsites should now be closed and instead, sanitary landfills should have been established.
Legarda noted that the latest available data on ESWM compliance, the 2012 statistics from the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), showed that only 414 of the 1,610 LGUs nationwide have complied with the national plan. However, having a plan does not ensure that the law is fully and properly implemented.
The Senator cited a government program, the “Solid Waste Management Law Voluntary Compliance Assessment and Promotion Program”, spearheaded by the Office of the Ombudsman, which aims to recognize LGUs that have complied with the ESWM Law and to urge voluntary compliance of other LGUs.
Legarda said she hopes that the program will be successful in encouraging LGUs to take up their responsibility of implementing the solid waste management law and other environmental laws to ensure safe, clean and disaster-resilient communities.
“There are very few LGUs who have effectively and efficiently complied with the ESWM law. The fact that there are compliant LGUs only means that it is doable and there is no reason why other LGUs could not follow suit. I hope our leaders will have the political will to implement the law at full speed, especially now that we are facing threats of extreme weather events that can trigger environmental disasters such as the Payatas tragedy in Manila and the Irisan trash slide in Baguio,” Legarda concluded.