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Work progresses on planned solid waste management roadmap

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Authorities are further developing the planned National Solid Waste Management Strategy (NSWMS) that is aimed at better addressing the problem on garbage which they estimate generating an average rate of 36,000 tons per day.

"NSWMS will serve as the roadmap for good governance in solid waste management (SWM)," said senior environmental management specialist Raquel Reyes of National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC), the agency spearheading such work.

Reyes said they will soon review the roadmap's draft version to refine it more using inputs NSWMC gathered this October during the agency's nationwide consultations on the matter.

NSWMC earlier targeted finalizing the roadmap this year for implementation beginning 2012, she said.

The target roadmap will cover major concerns affecting nationwide compliance with Republic Act 9003, otherwise known as the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

Such concerns are organizational development and enhancing inter-agency collaboration; bridging policy gaps and harmonizing policies; compliance monitoring, enhancement and recognition; social marketing and advocacy; sustainable SWM financing; knowledge management as well as creating economic opportunities.

"Cross-cutting issues on good governance, caring for vulnerable groups as well as reducing disasters and climate change risks will be covered in NSWMS also," Reyes said.

She noted that initiatives under NSWMS will be time-bound.

Earlier, Environmental Management Bureau Director Juan Miguel Cuna authorized the conduct of consultations on the planned NSWMS.

His Special Order 306 series of 2011 called for such consultations in Luzon's National Capital Region and La Union province, in the Visayas' Cebu City and in Mindanao's Davao City.

Participants in the consultations included representatives from local government units (LGUs), the academe and private sector, Reyes said.

NSWMC previously called for more waste disposal partnerships among LGUs nationwide, noting this will help raise compliance with RA 9003 and lessen the possibility for disasters like Baguio City's garbage avalanche earlier this year.

RA 9003 requires garbage to be disposed of in sanitary landfills. LGUs without such facilities can partner with those that do to help ensure waste generated daily is dealt with accordingly, said NSWMC Deputy Executive Director Eligio Ildefonso earlier.

"We're encouraging such clustering strategy particularly for LGUs without the financial capability to establish respective sanitary landfills," he said.

He reiterated urgency for clustering, noting part of garbage generated nationwide is still thrown in open dumps since not all LGUs have sanitary landfills already.

"Over 1,000 LGUs have open dumpsites which RA 9003 bans," he said.

Open dumpsites are disposal areas where solid waste is indiscriminately thrown or disposed of without due planning and consideration for the environment and public health.

In contrast, RA 9003 says sanitary landfills are waste disposal sites designed, constructed, operated and maintained "in a manner that exerts engineering control over significant potential environmental impacts arising from the development and operation of the facility."

Controversy over open dumps surfaced anew this year when garbage from one such reported facility in Baguio City cascaded on several houses there.
The avalanche was reportedly linked to collapse of the dump's retaining wall as typhoon 'Mina' struck that mountain city.

By PNA/PIA9-ZBST




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