Solving garbage problem starts at home: Cimatu

MANILA — Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said solving the country’s garbage woes can start at home.

Speaking before employees of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Quezon City on Monday, Cimatu urged all community environment and natural resources officers (CENROs) nationwide to further promote solid waste management (SWM) at the household level.

“My directive for them during my visits is to start this in their areas,” he said, noting that families can help address the country’s mounting garbage problem.

He said his directive is aligned with the DENR’s mission of mobilizing the citizenry in protecting, conserving, and managing the country’s environment and natural resources for the present and future generations.

He believes that families can initiate solution to the garbage problem by reducing their household trash and refraining from littering. This, he pointed out, will protect not only the environment but public health as well.

However, he said families can better act on solid waste management if they are aware of and understand environmental laws.

He said not all people know what the laws are so CENROs must inform them about it.

“This is the work we must do,” he said.

Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 defines solid waste as “all discarded household, commercial waste, non-hazardous institutional and industrial waste, street sweepings, construction debris, agricultural waste, and other non-hazardous/non-toxic solid waste.”

Solid waste management, it says, is “the discipline associated with the control of generation, storage, collection, transfer and transport, processing, and disposal of solid wastes in a manner that is in accord with the best principles of public health, economics, engineering, conservation, aesthetics, and other environmental considerations, and that is also responsive to public attitudes”.

Some 30,000 tons of garbage are generated nationwide daily, with Metro Manila alone producing 8,000 tons.

“Solid waste is a problem and can be a problem in years to come,” Cimatu warned, highlighting the need for solid waste management.

He lamented that in the government’s dry run opening of Boracay Island last month, some spots were littered with garbage.

He added that garbage indiscriminately thrown by households is among the pollutants in Manila Bay.

Such cases, he said, show that the people needed to be made aware of their role in keeping a clean environment.

“It’s what we want to focus on,” he said.