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The National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC), chaired by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), has issued a resolution adopting the guidelines for the establishment of the National Ecology Center (NEC) in compliance with Republic Act (RA) 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

The Commission approved NSWMC Resolution No. 1500, series of 2021, which finalizes the functions and requirements for the NEC body, during its virtual en banc meeting on December 7, 2021.

Under the resolution, the NEC is mandated for the "consulting, information, training and networking services for the implementation of the provisions of RA 9003."

"I’m elated that another achievement under solid waste management will finally soon come to fruition. It’s been 20 years since the enactment of RA 9003 which mandated the establishment of NEC," said DENR Secretary and NSWMC Chair Roy A. Cimatu.

The resolution was signed by DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units (LGUs) Concerns and NSWMC Alternate Chair Benny D. Antiporda.

One of the NEC's tasks is to facilitate training on integrated ecological solid waste management through "education, replication, and advocacy programs," as well as give "expert assistance in pilot modeling of solid waste management facilities."

The Director of the DENR-Environmental Management Bureau in his ex-officio capacity will head the NEC composed of solid waste management experts, such as academicians, inventors, practicing professionals, and those from the business and industry, youth, and other concerned sectors that will effectively implement the NEC functions.

The NSWMC resolution also states that the NEC, in coordination with the Department of Trade and Industry, will establish a solid waste management database system on solid waste generation and management techniques, resource recovery approaches, and recycling industry data, and consolidate best solid waste management practices of other countries for possible adoption of similar practices in the country.

The NEC is also mandated to develop a model for waste minimization and reduction auditing procedures for evaluations and establish a "national recycling network" that will build a recycling market to enhance opportunities in recycling.

Information dissemination on proper solid waste management will also be done through TV, radio, print, and online media.

To further implement its functions, the NEC will have training programs on proper solid waste management and on the technical operations of solid waste management facilities across various sectors involving enforcers, implementers, LGUs, and private organizations, among others.

It will also develop an accreditation and certification system for the conduct of solid waste management programs of training institutions.

Moreover, partnerships with national government agencies, businesses, and private and development organizations to conduct solid waste management programs and activities will also take place.

In collaboration with the Department of Education, the NEC will form an education program on effective solid waste management systems for students.

The NEC will also be a hub for LGUs, non-government organizations (NGOs), and industries for networking as well as function as a "clearing house for cleaner production or cleaner technologies on solid waste management."

"With the eventual establishment of the NEC as the prime organization for information dissemination, consultation, education, and training, solid waste management in the country will certainly progress. LGUs and industries will be further capacitated, SWM systems will improve, the public will be educated and contribute to the overall goal of environmental protection for the country," Antiporda said.###