‘Green’ group calls on LGUs to enforce environment laws
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY –– Taking a cue from President Duterte’s fourth State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Monday, the environmental watchdog EcoWaste Coalition has appealed to local governments across the country to take the President’s pronouncement to heart and start to strictly enforce environmental laws.
The group said it was high time for towns, cities, and provinces to take action and enforce environment laws more strictly so that the country’s natural resources would not be plunged further into irreversible decline.
EcoWaste also said the effective enforcement of environmental laws such as the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act would lie on 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,” said EcoWaste Coalition national coordinator Aileen Lucero in a statement on Tuesday, July 23.
“While we commend some LGUs for implementing waste prevention and reduction programs, Republic Act 9003 (the law on ecological solid waste management) remains ineffectively enforced in many localities as illegal dumping persists and single-use plastic continues to cause chemical and waste pollution beyond our border,” Lucero said.
She added that the implementation of RA 9003 would not even be enough as the country also needed to adopt measures to stop the dumping of plastic wastes into waterways that usually end up in seas and oceans.
Lucero said legislation that would ban single-use plastic should be crafted to complement the ecological solid waste management law.
A recent report published by Ocean Conservancy showed that the Philippines had been ranked among the top contributors to plastic pollution in the oceans.
“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.
Lucero said national and local government agencies should instead focus on waste prevention and reduction, such as product redesign, segregation at source, reuse, recycling, composting and associated green enterprises for the poor.
The EcoWaste Coalition also thought that Duterte should have used the Sona “as a platform to assure the nation that foreign waste dumping would be a thing of the past.”
Before the Sona, the coalition expressed optimism that the President would assume a hard stance against waste importation in the light of the tons of garbage that arrived here in recent years.
But the President was quiet about the issue during his Sona.
“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 announce his intent to ratify the Basel Ban Amendment, which aims to prohibit the transfer of hazardous 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 countries of origin,” she added.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.