Press Release
January 13, 2021

Villar: Fast-tracking Distribution of Solid Waste Management Equipment Will Help LGUs Achieve Zero Waste Goals
Amendment of RA 9003 (Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 and law on single-use plastics among the legislative priorities for 2021

Senator Cynthia Villar, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, said that while long-delayed, the turnover of solid waste management (SWM) equipment to local government units (LGUs) will really help in attaining zero waste targets of cities and municipalities.

"The distribution of the equipment is long overdue because the budget for it has been made available since 2017 but is only last month when the turnover started. It needs to be fast-tracked because the country's waste problems even worsened during the Covid-19 pandemic, when healthcare-related wastes such as face masks added to the pile of garbage we have to deal with," cited Villar.

The whole country, according to estimates from environmental groups, generates over 40,000 tons of garbage per day. The composting equipment being distributed by the Environmental Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-EMB), according to Villar, will allow LGUs to manage their wastes.

Coincidentally, 2021 is the 20th Anniversary of the signing into law of Republic Act (RA) 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000. Villar has filed a bill to that will amend the law by institutionalizing the practice of Extended Producers Responsibility (EPR). It will mandate companies especially in industries that generate plastic wastes to be responsible "for the proper and effective disposal of their products after they have been sold to and used by consumers with the objectives of reducing waste generation and of improving recyclability or reusability of wastes, which include plastic containers or packaging materials".

Villar's Senate committee also intend to pass a law against single-use plastics. One of the bills that will be consolidated with other bills is Senate Bill No. 333 or the Single-Use Plastic Product Regulation Act of 2019 that she authored. It seeks to regulate the manufacturing, importation, and "single use" of plastic products.

Moreover, Villar is also asking DENR-EMB to fasttrack also the procurement of the 25 units of equipment that will recycle plastic wastes into school chairs, which will be given to LGUs also. Plastic make up a significant amount of solid wastes and one of the most damaging to the environment.

"The ultimate goal of our solid waste management efforts and legislations is zero waste and we have to give the people and the LGUs the capability and capacity to really manage their own wastes. We have to get really serious about achieving zero waste," said Villar. The month of January is also known as Zero Waste Month, as mandated by Presidential Proclamation no. 760, dated May 5, 2014. The theme of this year's celebration is "Bouncing Back from the Pandemic to a Greener and Healthier Environment". Zero waste is an advocacy that promotes the designing and managing of products and processes to avoid and eliminate the volume and toxicity of waste and materials.

The senator also practices what she preaches. She has established barangay-based livelihood enterprises that are models of proper waste management and good examples of how garbage or wastes can be used as raw materials. These are water hyacinths for the waterlily handicraft-weaving enterprise and the handmade paper factory; coconut husks for the coconet-weaving enterprise and the charcoal-making factory; kitchen and garden wastes for the organic fertilizer composting facility; and plastic wastes for the waste plastic recycling factory that produces school chairs. So far, there are over 3,000 of those projects nationwide, which help solve the problem of wastes and provide a source of livelihood, too.

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