Watchdog decries New Year ‘holitrash’

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Filipinos left “mountains of holitrash [short for "holiday” and "trash”]that again sullied the parks, streets and sidewalks of [Met[Metro Manila]er the lively celebrations” of the New Year.

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In a statement on Sunday, Eileen Sison, president of EcoWaste Coalition, said the revelry on Sunday should not be an excuse for the Filipinos to leave mountains of trash in the streets.

“Ironically, today is also the start of the Zero Waste Month that is meant to promote waste prevention and reduction for a cleaner and greener Philippines,” she noted.

On New Year’s Day, EcoWaste went to Divisoria only to discover the mountains of trashes in the streets.

Armed with rakes and shovels, it showed to the public a placard that says, “Ganito tayo noon, ganito pa din ba tayo ngayon? Basura everywhere!” and a banner with a clear message that sums up what should be done instead: “Go Zero Waste: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Huwag Mag-aksaya, Magtambak at Magsunog ng Basura.”

“The unchecked dumping of all types of trash on the streets is not only appalling and irresponsible but outrightly illegal,” Sison said.

“Littering, throwing, dumping of waste matters in public places such as roads, sidewalks, canals, esteros or parks and establishments, or causing or permitting the same,” are prohibited and punishable under Section 48 of Republic Act 2003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.

“We must also point out that what we find being dumped on the streets are mixed discards, including recyclable items that should have been returned to factories and compostable materials that should have been returned to Mother Earth through composting,” Sison said.

Discarded food containers, especially those made from polystyrene plastic, food leftovers, plastic and paper packaging, firecracker residues and other residuals are among the typical waste materials spotted.

“The plastics in garbage heaps are most conspicuous even in cities like Manila that supposedly passed a plastic use reduction ordinance way back in 2012,” Sison said.

With the onset of 2017, the EcoWaste Coalition reiterated its commitment to work with the government and the citizens in pursuing socially just and sustainable solutions to the nation’s garbage and toxic woes.

In particular, the group pledged to continue with its drive to push for the genuine enforcement of Republic Act 9003, as well as RA 8749, or the Clean Air Act and other related environmental laws.

“As we commemorate the Zero Waste Month, we would like to assure the public of our steadfast conviction to pursue real solutions to our waste and toxic problems in an environmentally-sound way that will apply the principles of precaution, prevention and public participation,” the group said.

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