Avoiding Waste In The Time Of Pandemic
May 20 - December 31
THIS PAPER recently reported that in Iloilo province, 36 towns already have 10-year solid waste management plans approved by the National Solid Waste Management Commission. This is a good development in the Ilonggos’ collective effort to protect the environment, most especially in this time of pandemic.
Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 prohibits local governments from operating open or controlled dumpsites and mandates them to – among others – establish materials recovery facilities, also known as ecology centers, in every barangay or cluster of barangays to promote waste prevention and reduction in the grassroots level. A material recovery facility includes a solid waste transfer station or sorting station, a drop-off center, a composting facility, and a recycling facility.
The law makes it mandatory for local governments to have solid waste management plans that include strategies on residual, recyclable, biodegradable, and special wastes such as the strict implementation of the “no segregation, no collection” policy, recycling of single-use plastics, and composting and construction of vault for health care wastes.
The overall goal is to achieve zero waste. How do we achieve zero waste? Environmentalists suggest strategies such as waste avoidance and reduction, segregation at source, recycling of non-biodegradable discards, composting or digesting of organic materials, reuse and repair, extended producer responsibility, product redesign and clean production.
Promoting zero waste strategies must form part of the nation’s priority efforts to recover from the dire impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on people’s health and livelihoods. Ordinary citizens can contribute to this. The amount of household waste may increase with more people staying at home, consuming more perishables, or ordering ready-to-eat food wrapped in single-use packaging.