Luczon: Totally crap: milestones with garbage (part 2)

Nef Luczon

A DOCUMENT detailing the status report made publicly available through the online platform, SlideShare, has chronicled how the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) enacted and implemented the solid waste management laws and policies from 2008 to 2015.

The file was uploaded by an environmental planner, Ragene Andrea Palma, who, based on her profile on LinkedIn, is the Planning Manager of the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation since 2016. The file she shared, the status report, was published by DENR-NSWMC-Environmental Management Bureau.

The document not only reported the solid waste management status but also highlighted other related reports such as other environmental concerns like air and water pollution, health risks brought by the urban waste materials, and the processes of disposal, recycle, and reuse of wastes.

Some of the highlights include that from 2008 to 2013, most of the country's "municipal solid wastes" come from residential areas, with 56.7 percent; respectively , followed by: Commercial sources (27.1 percent, from markets and business establishments), Institutional (12.1 percent, churches, schools, etc.), and Industrial (4.1 percent, factories, plants etc).

Citing the Regional State of the Brown Environment, solid wastes in the country between 2008 and 2013 mostly were biodegradables (52.31 percent) which followed by Recyclables (27.78 percent), Residuals (17.98 percent), and "Special" (1.93 percent, textile, glass, etc).

If we look on this data alone, we can say we are still lucky enough as a nation because the waste we produce would mostly get decomposed over time without causing pollution or endangerment to the environment. However, this is not the case.

The report acknowledged that while some local government units (LGUs) have implemented "no segregation, no collection" policies, however, they also noted that some LGUs were still using mixed waste collections, which the report states "a backward step that produces the opposite effect."

The report also identified the waste collection inefficiencies, including: poor labor management and supervision, more workers on the roles than needed, inadequate cooperation from the citizenry (which is crucial), and others such as driving conditions, haulage, and number if garbage collecting vehicles.

Under Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, all LGUs are required to submit a 10-year Solid Waste Management Plans (SWMPs), that should align in the national solid waste framework.

In 2014, Region 11 topped the submission of SWMPs with 96 percent of its LGUs complied. This was followed by Cordillera Administrative Region (75 percent), Region 1 (74 percent), Region 12 (72 percent), and the National Capital Region (71 percent).

Meanwhile Northern Mindanao, where Cagayan de Oro belongs, stagnated along with five other regions because the submission of LGUs were lower than 50 percent. Northern Mindanao only had 42 percent compliance.

Sometimes, this could explain that despite the change in administration, we can still see random garbage messing around the streets to the point visitors would say that the Cagayan de Oro City is literally messed up.

This is because in June 2015, the NSCWMC only approved the SWMP of the LGU of Quezon, Bukidnon for Northern Mindanao, after it submitted the plans on the previous year. Cagayan de Oro finished its SWMP only last year after the approval of the city council, though the plan was supposed to be implemented beginning year 2014.

But as they say, better late than never. It’s perceived effects and benefits now rest on the actions of our community leaders, but much is also expected to us citizens to begin practicing responsible solid waste managers.

(Nefluczon@gmail.com)