Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu
The STAR/File
DENR: Philippines facing garbage crisis
Rhodina Villanueva (The Philippine Star) - December 6, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines —The country is “in the middle of a garbage crisis” that can only be addressed by drastic changes in the way individuals and groups treat waste, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu warned yesterday.

“We are now in the middle of a garbage crisis. If we continue to act only for our independent interests, continue to spoil our water bodies and fail to responsibly manage our wastes, we will not be able to sustain our efforts on this campaign,” Cimatu said at a forum in Taguig City.

“We and the following generations will all suffer the consequences if we do not change the way we behave as an organization and as individuals,” he said.

What the country needs to immediately address, he said, is its problem with solid waste.

Cimatu noted that Metro Manila, with a population of 12.8 million, has a target estimated waste generation of 58,112.31 cubic meters for 2019. “By the first quarter, we have already produced 34,574.77 cubic meters or 59.45 percent of the total,” he pointed out.

“The 2019 second quarter estimated waste generation sums up to 32,221.17 cubic meters. This amounts to another 55.45 percent of the total. The target estimated waste generation baseline for 2019 of 58,112.31 cubic meters has already been surpassed,” he maintained.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resrouces (DENR) chief also said that published environmental studies ranked the Philippines third highest source of ocean plastic pollution, with an estimated 2.7 million metric tons of plastic waste leakage annually, next to the much bigger populated countries of China and Indonesia.

Cimatu also revealed that DENR and concerned agencies are again facing the daunting task of cleaning and rehabilitating Manila Bay. The government undertook a massive rehabilitation of Boracay last year.

He announced that as of Nov. 21, 13,212 establishments around Manila Bay have been inspected. “Of these, 2,684 establishments have been issued with notices of violation of environment regulations, while 1,910 more will be issued,” he said.

Cimatu added that some 107 establishments have been issued cease-and-desist orders. “There were also cases filed at the pollution adjudication board against two establishments, which will have to pay penalties if they are found guilty,” he said.

“Addressing the large-scale challenge of rehabilitating Manila Bay requires attention and probing from a micro-level perspective. Hence, the DENR programs for Manila Bay rehabilitation are strategically defined to attend to the issues stemming from the identified sources of wastes,” he explained.

He admitted there are still doubts on the viability of the government approach to rehabilitating Manila Bay. “Rather than voicing criticisms without providing concrete solutions, let us transform these sentiments into positive action that can spur positive change to our environment,” Cimatu added.

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