CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Following President Rodrigo Duterte’s fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA), in which he reminded local government units (LGUs) to do their part in protecting the environment, a group of eco-activists has appealed to local officials to comply with the directive.
In a statement released Wednesday, the EcoWaste Coalition said it is high time for LGUs to take action so that the country’s natural resources “will not be plunged into further and irreversible degradation.”
The group said the effective enforcement of environmental laws, such as Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, lies in the hands of local officials.
“We urge our LGUs to heed the presidential directive to reverse the continuing degradation of our environment due to blatant disrespect for our environmental laws and regulations,” EcoWaste Coalition national coordinator Aileen Lucero said.
“While we commend some LGUs for implementing waste prevention and reduction programs, RA 9003 remains ineffectively enforced in many localities as illegal dumping persists and as single-use plastics continue to cause chemical and waste pollution beyond our borders,” she added.
She said the implementation of RA 9003 remains inadequate as the country must also adopt measures to control the dumping of plastic wastes into waterways that end up in seas and other water bodies.
Local officials should also enforce the single-use plastics to complement the enforcement of RA 9003, she added.
A recent report published by Ocean Conservancy showed that the Philippines now ranked as among the top polluters of plastics in the ocean.
“Instead of enforcing RA 9003, we find it very disturbing that waste-to-energy incineration (WtE) projects are aggressively being promoted as ‘solution’ to our country’s garbage woes,” Lucero said.
She said national and local governments must focus on waste prevention and reduction strategies and programs such as product redesign, segregation at source, reuse, recycling, composting and their associated green enterprises for the poor.
Prior to the SONA, EcoWaste expressed optimism that the President would declare a hard stance against the importation of wastes in light of the tons of garbage that came from other countries.
“To assure the people that no foreign waste dumping will happen again, the President should have reiterated his verbal order to bar waste imports and announced his intent to ratify the Basel Ban Amendment, which aims to prohibit the transfer of hazardous wastes and other wastes from developed to developing countries for any reason, including recycling,” Lucero said.
“While customs authorities had re-exported this year 69 container vans of dumped wastes from Canada, 51 from South Korea and one from Hong Kong, there are still thousands of tons of wastes from Australia and South Korea waiting to be returned to their origin,” she added. Jigger Jerusalem / PNA – northboundasia.com