The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is mobilizing all its regional offices nationwide to assist in the management of solid waste in evacuation centers for residents affected by the Taal Volcano eruption.

DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units Concerns Benny D. Antiporda said the DENR will conduct information drive on proper solid waste management in evacuation centers across Batangas, Cavite and Laguna provinces as ordered by Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu.

“Secretary Cimatu gave instruction that we come up with a joint operation by all DENR regional offices in the country to assist all those affected by the Taal Volcano eruption,” Antiporda said.

“There will be representatives per region that will assist evacuees when it comes to environmental issues, particularly solid waste management,” he added.

Antiporda said the joint operation, which will also be participated in by concerned personnel from the DENR central office in Quezon City, will be called “Task Force Basura.”

“You can expect us from the DENR that we will act on it as early as now, rather than be taken aback by the mountains of garbage that will be produced because of this calamity in Taal Volcano,” Antiporda said.

In line with this, Antiporda appealed to the public to avoid donating single-use plastic cups, plates and utensils to evacuees as these “environmentally unfriendly” items could create another problem.

“Plastic forks, spoons, cups, plates, and coffee stirrers may be convenient, but they are wreaking havoc on the environment,” Antiporda pointed out.

He lamented that “calamity and the displacement of individuals make proper waste management the last and least among the priorities of the people.”

But Antiporda assured that the DENR is willing to help affected LGUs in dealing with garbage problem resulting from Taal Volcano’s activity.

“We can assist you,” Antiporda said. “We can even do joint projects with you just to solve this solid waste management problem, and all we need is for you to contact us.” ###