Metro Manila produces a fourth of Philippine garbage


BOUNTY OF THE BAY. Scavengers scour the heap of garbage washed ashore the Manila Bay in Roxas Boulevard Manila. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

BOUNTY OF THE BAY. Scavengers scour the heap of garbage washed ashore the Manila Bay in Roxas Boulevard Manila. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

The excesses of “Imperial Manila” seem to stink to high heavens.

Residents of Metro Manila generate so much garbage that they are responsible for one-fourth of the country’s daily output of solid waste, according to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

A single resident produces an average of 0.7 kilogram of waste a day, about “130 percent higher” than the global average of 0.3 kg per person per day, said Emy Aguinaldo, executive director of the National Solid Waste Management Commission, an attached agency of the DENR.

Citing records from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, the DENR said Metro Manila produced about 8,400 to 8,600 tons of trash per day.

That volume already accounts for about 25 percent of the country’s daily solid waste generation of some 35,000 tons, the DENR noted.

About half of the garbage from Metro Manila is biodegradable waste such as food scraps, leftovers, and animal carcasses. About 17 percent are paper while 16 percent are plastics. The rest are discarded metal, ceramics, rubber, and leather.

Small but terrible

With a population of around 11.5 million, Metro Manila accounts for 13 percent of the nationwide total. Its 636-square meter urban sprawl covers a mere 0.21 percent of the country’s total land area.

Of the 16 cities and one municipality making up Metro Manila, only nine cities have a solid waste management plan, Aguinaldo told the Inquirer yesterday.

About a third of the biodegradable waste from these nine cities is recycled into compost, she said.

Metro Manila residents, however, rarely engage in recycling because of limited space, Aguinaldo noted.

Environment Secretary Ramon Jesus Paje on Monday said he had ordered 4,717 homeowners associations in condominiums and subdivisions in Metro Manila to segregate their garbage to help speed up collection and sorting.

The DENR has forged partnerships with 11 local government units to enforce the order, he said.

Better organized

“Subdivisions and condominiums are very critical in our advocacy because residents here are already organized and governed by their respective homeowners associations. Getting them to practice waste segregation and composting will hopefully not be as difficult as they will feel the immediate benefits in terms of cleaner and greener surroundings,” Paje said.

“This way, we will not only be reducing the volume of wastes thrown in landfills but also those that are indiscriminately dumped in esteros and other waterways,” he added.

He said Metro Manila residents had become such prolific litterbugs that the supposedly local problem of household garbage had become a national concern.

Uncollected trash that clog waterways and drainage systems is one of the major causes of floods and disease outbreaks whose effects could be felt beyond the capital, Paje stressed.

“From flooding to dengue, from polluted rivers and creeks to mountains of trash, from the unnecessary death of fishes that accidentally swallowed plastic bags in the seas to global warming, garbage is the common denominator,” the environment secretary said in a statement. With report from Inquirer Research

Get Inquirer updates while on the go, add us on these apps:

Inquirer Viber

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • Anonymous

    That’s a lot of business opportunity and hidden gold.  Kung paandarin lamang ang kagalingan at abilidad ng  Pinoy, “tiyak yon” na pagkakakitaan ng malaki ang basura na yan.  ‘Ika nga ng kano, “one man’s garbage is another man’s treasure”.

  • CrocLolong


    • Marc Anthony Biay

      Stating the obvious. Malamang, nasaan ba ang Senado at Kongreso? Nasa Palawan ba?

  • Edongski

    …is this accurate? what about the transient population of Metro Manila??? are they included in this report??? if this is true then all local government heads should sit down and discuss this… or alternatively metro manila’s representatives to congress and our honorable senators should “investigate” this and come up with a legislation to counter this threat… instead of grandstanding with investigations that are going no where..

  • Jose

    Of course Metro Manila produces a lot of garbage, it’s where the Senate is based.

  • Jude

    Awareness is a good start, anything further on the solution side? From tha picture I do see a lot of commercially sourced waste, I would guess these are wrappers, laminates, diapers that even the scrap collector would discard. A system must be ut in place and accountable. As a solution, I suggest that the manufacturer be made accountable of the post consumer waste. To  buy them back and dispose them accordiungly as they have developed them, eventually imrpove on their next product and packaging. If they could not elimunate the need of disposable packaging, then they have to make it recyclable to make it sellable. One it woudl be sellable, the scrap collectors would be eager to collect them, at the end no waste left in the dump.

  • Anonymous

    That will be come a great source of electric energy. kong hindi nila na over exaggerated ang clean green act. High tech incineration plant is really needed in metro manila that will produced a electric power that will help also the power lost in Metro.

    Senate and congress its about time to make a second look into the high tech incineration plant.

  • joboni96

    there is money in trash
    kaya ganyan ang nangyayari

    mas maraming na deliver na basura kasi
    mas malaking kita

  • renante

    Manila is populated by PIGS!!!!

  • John Dale

    “Its 636-square meter urban sprawl covers a mere 0.21 percent of the country’s total land area.”

    I believe it’s supposed to be “636-square-kilometer urban sprawl.”

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:

c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


editors' picks



latest videos