Alarm sounded on Philippines' solid waste woes | Inquirer News
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Alarm sounded on Philippines’ solid waste woes

/ 12:05 AM April 05, 2019

MANILA, Philippines  -The Philippines cannot afford another 20 years to fill the gaps in addressing the solid waste problem in the country, an environmental coalition said Thursday.

Speaking to reporters after the Marine Plastics Conference in the Philippines in Taguig City, president of the Philippine Alliance for Recycling and Materials Sustainability (PARMS) Crispian Lao said that while the way local government units manage waste has improved over the past 19 years, there are “still a lot of gaps and we still have a long way to go.”

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“We cannot afford another 20 years before these gaps are filled. So there has to be a holistic approach to all of this banning is an option, but may not be an absolute solution if you ban, what is to replace?” Lao said.

“We have seen already that we have banned certain materials and unfortunately some of those materials were actually recyclable, you ended up having more waste that you have deal with to dispose of. So, policy should be guided by sound science,” he added.

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According to Lao, the gap can be seen in an existing status report on Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, which showed that only 30 percent of the population has access to sanitary landfills and is served by material recovery facilities (MRF).

In the same forum, World Bank portfolio manager Agata Pawlowska mentioned that current studies show that the Philippines “is estimated to have the 3rd highest rate of mismanaged plastic waste worldwide.”

Lao, likewise underscored the importance of dealing with waste management holistically.

“There has to be peer reviewed sound science studies applicable to local conditions. You can’t pick the study of the EU (European Union), you can’t take the model of the EU, industry is prepared to do its role okay?” he said.

“So, it has to be viewed in a broader scale, in a holistic scale and ensure that those that maybe affected by a policy are taken care of,” he added.

Lao further noted that addressing waste management in the country should be a collective effort from the public and private sectors.

“It cannot be just the plastic industry, it has to be all sectors of community from your consumers, from your retail, from your sari-sari store…the academic community and the government,” he said.

“We all need to work together, we all need to do our share at every level to ensure that this problem is solved, the government cannot solve it alone,” he added. /gsg

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TAGS: PARMS, Philippine Alliance for Recycling and Materials Sustainability, Philippines, solid waste, waste problem
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