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LGUs asked: No more open burning of waste

CEBU, Philippines - With the escalating problem of environmental pollution in the country, the Cebu Provincial Board (PB) has passed a resolution strongly urging all local government units (LGUs) in the province to strengthen their campaign against open burning of solid waste.

PB Resolution No. 1657, co-sponsored by PB Members Victoria Corominas-Toribio and Thadeo Jovito M. Ouano, was approved last June 14 and calls for the strictly implementation of Republic Act 9003, otherwise known as the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act Of 2000.

“On some areas in the province, especially remote areas, people still practice “open burning” or the burning of unwanted waste wherein the smoke resulting from such act are released directly into the open air which may have harmful effects to the health of the general public and may harm the environment,” reads the PB resolution.

Open burning of solid waste refers to the burning of materials such as paper, trees, brush, leaves, grass, and other debris, where smoke and other emissions are released directly into the air without passing through a chimney or stack.

According to the approved resolution, burning of waste such as plastic materials may release toxic fumes which may contaminate the air and cause unnecessary health hazards to humans.

Exposure to the smoke produced by open burning of solid waste can increase susceptibility to respiratory infections and can aggravate existing respiratory diseases such as asthma and chronic bronchitis.

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According to Numbeo, in Cebu the air pollution is high at 73.21 percent, posing serious health risks.

Hence, the LGUs in the Province of Cebu sees the need to heighten their campaign against open burning of solid waste as Section 19 of the Local Government Code of the Philippines mandates all LGUs to ensure the health and safety of the public as well as promote their comfort and convenience.

The PB noted that in Chapter VI Section 48 of RA 9003, among the prohibited acts listed is “the open burning of solid waste.”

RA 9003 stipulates that those caught breaching the above-mentioned law will pay a fine of not less than P300 but not more P1,000, or imprisonment for one to 15 days, or both. — /JBB (FREEMAN)

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