NSWMC fast-tracking approval process for solid waste mngt plans of LGUs

The National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) is working to fast-track the approval process for the 10-year solid waste management plans (SWMPs) submitted by more than 1,600 cities and municipalities across the country.

NSWMC is the major agency tasked to oversee the implementation of Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, which requires each local government unit (LGU) to submit an SWMP that is being updated every 10 years. The commission is composed of various government agencies led by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

According to DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and LGU Concerns Benny Antiporda, only around 400 SWMPs were approved so far out of the more than 1,600 submitted by LGUs as early as 2014.

“We have a backlog of around 1,200 SWMPs that’s why we really need to fast track the approval process so the LGUs may implement their respective plans for addressing garbage problems in their localities,” Antiporda pointed out.

In fact, Antiporda disclosed that the DENR-led body has approved the SWMPs of 67 LGUs during its three en banc meetings in October. The SWMPs cover the years 2014-2023, 2015-2024, 2017-2026, and 2018-2027.

Among those approved last month were the SWMPs of the cities of Legazpi, Calapan and Mandaue, as well as several municipalities in Abra, Pampanga, Oriental Mindoro, Cebu, Bohol, Iloilo, Zamboanga del Norte, Saranggani and Maguindanao provinces.

Antiporda said that “starting November, the NSWMC will try to approve 100 SWMPs a month until the backlog is cleared.”

“Before, the NSWMC used to approve only 10 or 20 plans a month,” he noted.

The approved SWMPs 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. Municipal ordinances in support of these strategies were also identified.

Since August this year, the NSWMC has been awarding certificates to LGUs whose SWMPs have been approved through resolutions issued by the commission.

DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said the certificates not only signifies compliance by LGUs to the requirement to submit SWMPs, as it also provides as a guarantee for them to adhere with all the provisions of RA 9003.

“This is our way of ensuring the commitment of LGUs to proper solid waste management,” Cimatu said.

“We want to make sure local leaders have a document that serves as a reminder of their duties and responsibilities under the law,” the environment chief added.

Under RA 9003, LGUs are primarily responsible for waste segregation and disposal.

The law provides for a systematic, comprehensive, and ecological solid waste management program that includes SWM activities such as avoidance, reduction, reuse, recycling, composting and proper disposal of residual waste. ### 

Boracay rehab efforts to continue even after reopening, says Cimatu

Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu has assured the rehabilitation efforts in Boracay will continue even after tourism-related activities on the world-famous resort island have resumed.

Cimatu said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will conduct continuous water quality monitoring to make sure Boracay’s waters remain safe for swimming and other recreational activities.

The DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau (DENR) has installed a state-of-the-art monitoring system that provides real-time data on the water quality around the island, he said.

With an effective monitoring system and strict compliance by all commercial establishments to existing environmental laws and regulations, Cimatu said the public can be assured Boracay will no longer be called a “cesspool.”

According to Cimatu, the DENR will continue to monitor the compliance of establishments with the conditions imposed in their respective environmental compliance certificates (ECCs).

Cimatu said the DENR and other government agencies comprising the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) will also continue to process requirements from non-compliant commercial establishments.

“Tuloy-tuloy ang pagtanggap ng gobyerno ng application for compliance ng mga establishment,” he said.

Compliance requirements for establishments include the setting up of sewage treatment plants (STPs) or connection to the island’s sewerage system, to make sure only treated wastewater is discharged into the sea.

A day before Boracay’s reopening, the EMB reported that certificates of compliance had already been issued to 717 establishments out of 1,258 in its inventory.

A certificate of compliance allows an establishment to undergo assessment by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and then for accreditation by the Department of Tourism (DOT).

As of October 26, the DOT has allowed 157 hotels and similar establishments to operate, which is equivalent to 7,308 rooms.

The DOT also assured the public that the agency would regularly update its list of accredited establishments, as it continues to implement a “no compliance, no operation” policy on the island.

Meanwhile, Cimatu disclosed that the BIATF is set to recommend chairmanship of the body from the DENR to the DOT, as efforts shift from establishing corrective measures to maintaining laws and regulations for ecotourism sites. ### 

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