More LGUs link up with DENR to fast-track 'Zero Basura Program'

June 24, 2009 9:22 am 

MANILA, June 24 — Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Lito Atienza today announced that local government units (LGUs) have been showing an improved compliance to the Solid Waste Management Act or Republic Act 9003, citing an increase in the number of established materials recovery facilities nationwide to 4,260 as of June 15.

“The increase is about 75%, from last year’s number of 2,428 MRFs,” said Atienza, adding however that the latest count remains small when compared to total number of barangays in the country which is 42,000. RA 9003 provides for the establishment of at least one MRF in every barangay.

“We will continue to strengthen DENR’s partnerships with our LGUs to give more teeth to our campaign to solve the country’s garbage problems,” Atienza said.

The DENR has been intensifying its waste management programs, particularly the establishment of materials recovery facilities (MRFs) in various cities and municipalities to reduce waste from the source – beginning in households – through segregation and recycling.

It has launched last January its “Green Movement Agenda: Our Strategy for Local Action” in support to government campaign on climate change which focused on a “Zero-Basura Caravan” involving LGUs.

Dubbed as “Strengthening Local Actions through FOURmula 1-Zero Basura Caravan,” the caravan is a sequenced intensive, information, education (IEC) campaign that will pass through provinces, cities and municipalities starting in Mindanao, Visayas and Luzon, with the intent of cascading its key programs and strengthening DENR-LGUs partnership in solid waste management.

Atienza said that the information caravan has so far resulted positively with more than a thousand local executives committing to close their dumpsites and convert it into eco-parks, establish more materials recovery facilities (MRFs) and to pass local legislations mandating waste segregation in all households.

The caravan has started its Luzon leg in Baguio City (May 5) and is currently in Tacloban as part of its Visayan leg. It is targeted to finish its last and final leg in Mindanao this July.

DENR Assistant Secretary and National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) Executive Director Gerry Calderon said that the ‘zero-basura’ caravan was designed purposely to improve the law’s enforcement and implementation at the local government level.

According to him, the caravan serves three purposes – as a venue for LGU consultation, for information campaign and for data gathering.

“The caravan made way for LGUs and the DENR to iron out issues and pledge to work together in solving environmental problems, particularly solid waste which is one of the largest contributors to global warming,” Calderon said.

DENR records showed that as of June 2009, sanitary landfills have increased to 49, of which 25 are already operating while the 24 are now in various stages of development following the issuance of their environmental compliance certificates (ECC) by the DENR. The number of MRFs has also increased to 4,260.

“We cannot allow the continuing violations of RA 9003, as we have already announced then that the three-strike policy is on. The first notices have been sent out, after which second notices will be sent. After which, the final notices will be sent. If the LGUs have not complied by now, we will just have to start filing charges,” Atienza said.

An updated report from the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) cites 658 non-complying LGUs nationwide who are candidates for 2nd strike out of the 1,042 LGUs that were given the 1st strike warning letters (as of June 9).

The "zero basura" caravan is spearheaded by the DENR in coordination with the League of Municipalities of the Philippines.(PNA) /V3/pr/utb/

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