AN environmental group has asked the government, industry and the citizenry to help put a stop to the dumping of plastic wastes into waters that is destroying the world’s oceans.
The EcoWaste Coalition made the appeal in observance of the National Cleanup Month and the International Coastal Cleanup Day on Saturday.
To prevent plastics and other discards from spilling from land to tributaries, which can lead to the contamination of marine ecosystems, the group advocating for a zero waste and a toxic-free Philippines called for the genuine enforcement of Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.
The group pressed for the active implementation of RA 9003 as the Manila Bay Coastal Cleanup and Brand Audit organized by various green groups gets underway from September 11 to 20 at the Freedom Islands in the cities of Las Piñas and Parañaque.
The nine-day cleanup and audit was organized by the Break Free from Plastic Movement, EcoWaste Coalition, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Greenpeace, Mother Earth Foundation, Samahan ng mga Nananambakan sa Dumpsite Area, Samahan ng Muling Pagkabuhay Multi-Purpose Cooperative, and other groups.
“As we help in picking up the garbage along the polluted coastline of Manila Bay, we want to call attention to the urgent need to enforce RA 9003 in all local government units and component barangays [villages]to curb global plastic pollution that is killing the oceans,” Aileen Lucero, the group’s national coordinator, said.
RA 9003, among its long list of prohibitions, forbids and penalizes littering, open burning, open dumping, the manufacture, distribution or use of non-environmentally acceptable packaging materials, and the importation of toxic wastes misrepresented as “recyclable.”
“The national and local governments, businesses and industries and all other waste generators, including the households, must strive for the ‘adoption of best environmental practices in ecological solid waste management excluding incineration’ as required by RA 9003 and as recommended by the United Nations,” Lucero said.
“A national legislation banning single-use plastic bags and mainstreaming eco- alternatives is one of the key environmental policies that the country needs to adopt,” she added.
According to the Metro Manila Development Authority, the metropolis produces 9,499 tons of waste per day with per capita generation estimated at 0.265 to one kilo/person daily.
Metro Manila’s waste is comprised if biodegradable (44.32 percent), recyclable (31.64 percent), residuals (23.68) and special (0.36 percent) wastes. Plastics constitute 17.86 percent of waste generated in Metro Manila based on MMDA’s Waste Analysis and Characterization Study. NEIL A. ALCOBER