The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has called on the organizers of the Southeast Asian Games and host local government units (LGUs) to ensure proper waste management and implement “zero-waste-to-landfill” policy throughout the nearly two-week biennial sports event.

DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and LGU Concerns Benny Antiporda said the target should be no biodegradable or recyclable waste will be sent to landfills coming from the SEA Games venues.

“We call on the SEA Games organizers to use the sports event as a venue to showcase our best practices on solid waste management,” said Antiporda, who chairs the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC).

The appeal was made in anticipation of the large volumes of waste to be generated in the venues where food and drinks are sold. The DENR expects plastic food and beverage containers, aluminum cans and cardboards as among the wastes to be produced at the sporting event.

Antiporda said the SEA Games organizers and host LGUs could tap concerned city and municipality environment and natural resources officers and mobilize volunteers to ensure that the waste to be generated during the event will be properly segregated and sent to materials recovery facilities.

The DENR official expressed hope the 12-day event will serve as a venue to promote waste segregation and recycling, and that such practices would “go beyond the Games.”

In fact, he said the systems for implementing waste segregation and recycling have been in place from the provincial down to the barangay levels, as laid out in their approved 10-year Solid Waste Management Plans (SWMPs).

This is pursuant to Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, which mandates LGUs as primarily responsible for waste segregation and disposal.

NSWMC records show that 20 out of 23 cities and towns hosting the SEA Games already have approved SWMPs, while the remaining three are under evaluation.

Host LGUs with approved SWMPs are the cities of Makati, Mandaluyong, Manila, Muntinlupa, Pasay, Pasig, Quezon and San Juan in Metro Manila; Angeles, Lubao, Mabalacat and San Fernando in Pampanga; Capas and Tarlac City in Tarlac province; San Juan town in La Union province; Imus and Tagaytay in Cavite; and Biñan, Los Baños and Sta. Rosa in Laguna.

Those whose SWMPs are under evaluation are Calatagan, Batangas; Bocaue, Bulacan; and Subic,Zambales.

To date, the NSWMC has already approved the SWMPs of 819 LGUs or 48 percent of all 1,715 LGUs in the country.

The SWMPs of 791 LGUs are under evaluation, while 105 have yet to submit their plans prepared by their respective local solid waste management boards. ###