Press Release
April 6, 2009

Long-Term Solution to Disposal of Metro Manila's Garbage Critical

Nacionalista Party President Senator Manny Villar says that until a long-term and permanent solution to waste disposal is put in place, particularly of Metro Manila's garbage, the country is inviting environmental disasters.

Studies show that Metro Manila produces at least 8,000 tons of solid waste per day, of which, only 6,000 end up in dumpsites. The remaining 2,000 are dumped illegally on private land and even in rivers, creeks or at times openly burned, the toxins of which pollute the air.

"The rate at which we produce waste or garbage is really a cause for alarm. Garbage dumps and even sanitary fills eventually get filled up. We may soon run out of sites for these facilities, which are heavily protested by residents and for good reasons too because these cause environmental damage and pose hazards to people's health," says Villar.

The operation of open dumps is prohibited under Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act. Section 37 of the law provides that "no open dumps shall be established and operated, nor any practice or disposal by any person, including Local Government Units (LGUs), which constitutes the use of open dumps for waste, shall be allowed."

According to Villar, the tragedy in July 2000 in Payatas, Rizal should never be forgotten and should serve as a stark reminder that extra caution should be taken by authorities, organizations, and individuals in charge of waste disposal facilities or sites.

If not properly planned, built and managed, landfills and dumpsites are prone to landslides, flash floods, soil wasting or erosion and other environmental hazards. Moreover, the removal of forest cover in some areas endangers the lives of people in the communities on top of eliminating their sources of livelihood.

"Our country, which has among the highest solid waste generation per capita in the developing world, still has no acceptable and sustainable waste disposal facility. This should be prioritized on a national level, especially as the effects of global warming and climate change become more apparent" says Villar.

Villar likewise urges individuals particularly homeowners or residents to actively get involved as well since almost 75 percent of the garbage are generated from households. He cited that simple act of segregating biodegradable and non-biodegradable garbage as an important step.

According to Villar, "The garbage collectors of local government units or LGUs have designated days or separate collections for biodegradable and non-biodegradable wastes, so residents should follow this. There are many other procedures or processes that should be followed such as composting of organic wastes and compacting of garbage before dumping." Nearly 45 percent of waste generated by households is organic but due to lack of composting facilities, these cannot be processed into useful products such as organic fertilizers.

He added that the principle of 3 R's--reduce, reuse and recycle--cannot be overemphasized as far as environment protection is concerned. Based on estimates, households in Metro Manila generate more than two million tons of potentially recyclable materials every year. In fact, there is huge market demand for recyclable materials that is unmet by locally.

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