DENR starts Zero-Basura info caravan in Baguio City

May 5, 2009 3:35 am 

BAGUIO CITY, May 4 — Looking at the critical role of the local government units in solving garbage problem, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources will conduct a massive information campaign among local officials that will kick off tomorrow (May 5) at the Pines Hotel in Baguio City.

Dubbed "Interconnectivity Caravan: Strengthening and Empowering LMP Provincial Chapters through Health Fourmula 1- Zero Basura Caravan," the event aims to awaken all Filipinos on their individual and collective responsibilities on proper waste management pursuant to Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

DENR Secretary Lito Atienza said the info-caravan is very timely, considering the low compliance of local government units to RA 9003 and urgency of climate change.

"I cannot overemphasize the significance and timeliness of the information caravan. Our advocacy and strategy on the 3-strike policy and the Zero Basura Program will be explained to the LGUs in a more intimate setting to get their commitment and full support in the implementation of Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000," Atienza said.

Expected to participate in the event are local executives, officers of the league of municipalities provincial chapters and their staff, and environment officers of LGUs.

The info-caravan is also seen as a venue in strengthening the LGU-DENR partnership in sustaining the gains and addressing the challenges of the local government on solid waste management.

The activity will be highlighted by the signing of a manifesto of commitment by members of the League of Municipalities of Cordillera Administrative Region, Mayors Development Center, Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines, Presidential Management Staff, the Department of Health and the DENR.

Atienza stressed that climate change is an urgent issue and the earlier people realize the dangers of this phenomenon the better. He added that this can only be done with the help of the local government units whose role in reducing garbage nationwide is very critical. "We have to mobilize our people into action to lessen the impact of climate change and we can only do this if our local government units are well informed and are one with us," Atienza said.

The DENR chief explained that the biggest contributor to global warming and climate change is the garbage openly dumped because it emits methane which is 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide or any other pollutants.

Despite the 2006 February deadline to convert open dumpsites into controlled facilities, the country still has 673 open dumpsites and 263 controlled disposal facilities and a 25 sanitary landfills.

Atienza said that the government is bent on solving the garbage problem with not less than the President Arroyo's leading the war on waste. According to Atienza, the Presidential directive to reduce by 50% the volume of garbage generated in the country in six months shows not only the seriousness of our garbage problem but also the need for a more concerted and conscientious effort on the part of our local leaders and the people to implement the solid management program and for the DENR to seriously enforce RA 9003.

President Arroyo signed Executive Order No. 774 entitled “Reorganizing the Presidential Task Force on Climate Change on Dec. 26, 2008 and put the DENR as head of the Task Group on Solid Waste Management. (PNA)

DCT/PR/utb

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