ENVIRONMENTAL watchdog EcoWaste Coalition on Wednesday called for the heightened enforcement of Republic Act (RA) 9003 or Ecological Solid Waste Management Act ahead of the 10th anniversary of RA 9275 or Clean Water Act on March 22, the World Water Day.
RA 9275, signed on March 22, 2004 by former President Gloria Arroyo, applies to water quality management in all water bodies and focuses on abatement and control of pollution from land based sources.
To show the irresponsible disposal practices from households and other generators that are choking many of Metro Manila’s esteros, the EcoWaste Coalition deployed its Basura Patrollers on March 17 and 18 to take photos of clogged waterways in Caloocan, Malabon, Manila, Quezon and Taguig.
“The photos we took paint a harrowing picture of how we treat our waterways as if these are dumpsites,” Eco Waste Coalition national coordinator Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator.
The esteros identified to have the most number of floating garbages were Recto Avenue near Jose Abad Santos Avenue, Recto Avenue near Juan Luna Street, Old Torres Street, Juan Luna Street, Soler Street near Masangkay Street and Arlegui Street.
“While pleased with the ongoing efforts by private and public groups to rehabilitate Estero de Paco and other esteros, we find that reckless waste disposal continues to spoil and clog our waterways,” Lucero noted.
“Sooner or later, the rainy season will set in and again threaten our communities with intermittent rains and devastating flashfloods that we all know are exacerbated by blocked waterways,” she said.
“What more do we need to grasp the reality that whatever we recklessly throw will return to haunt us?” she asked.
“It’s high time that we all act with environmental responsibility, reduce our trash to the least and reuse, recycle and compost as much as we could to bring to life our vanishing esteros,” she said.
The EcoWaste Coalition noted that both RA 9003 and RA 9275 ban and penalize waste dumping.
RA 9275, in particular, prohibits the “discharging, depositing or causing to be deposited material of any kind directly or indirectly into the water bodies or along the margins of any surface water, where, the same shall be liable to be washed into such surface water, either by tide action or by storm, floods or otherwise, which could cause water pollution or impede natural flow in the water body.”
“On the occasion of the World Water Day and the 10th year of RA 9275, we appeal to all to practice ecological solid waste management and go zero waste to stop the trashing of our esteros and water bodies,” the EcoWaste Coalition said.
As documented by the group, garbages found in esteros comprised mainly of plastic-based materials such as bags, wrappers and polystyrene packaging for food and non-food items, which are basically the same discards that are finding their way to Manila Bay.