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Metro Manila produces a fourth of Philippine garbage


01:57 AM August 16th, 2011

By: Kristine L. Alave, August 16th, 2011 01:57 AM
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

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