Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said that waste facilities alone will not solve the problem of solid waste management in the Philippines as he urged the public to minimize their waste by practicing a sustainable lifestyle.

In light of the 21st year of Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2001, Cimatu cited the continuing assistance to local government units (LGUs) for the establishment of solid waste management facilities that include materials recovery facilities, sanitary landfills, and recycling equipment.

"While we strive to put up various solid waste management facilities throughout cities and municipalities, these are not the only means to solve the country’s garbage problem. There will come a time that these facilities may not function, or even reach their maximum capacity," Cimatu said.

"Year by year, our population grows, thereby resource consumption and waste generation increases. If an unsustainable lifestyle continues, disposal facilities will not be able to contain it, the environmental impact of wastes inevitably returns to us. It’s high time for all Filipinos to realize that practicing a sustainable lifestyle is as important as solid waste management," he pointed out.

In a webinar on January 17, which is a part of the month-long activities for the anniversary of the signing of RA 9003, DENR-EMB Assistant Director Vizminda A. Osorio bared that each Filipino produces an average of 0.4 kilograms of solid waste per day.

She said that with the country's population of 110 million in 2021, it is estimated that 44 million kilograms of solid waste are piling up every day.

Osorio urged participants to adopt a sustainable living to reduce personal and societal environmental impact by implementing positive behavioral adjustments that mitigate climate change and address other environmental concerns.

"Making lifestyle changes allow you also to save money, become more organic, become more involved in your community and, of course, it will contribute to a healthier way of life. Sustainability enhances our quality of life while also safeguarding our ecosystem and natural resources for future generations," Osorio said.

"We can do better by embracing a sustainable lifestyle--by raising our consciousness on our carbon footprint, reducing energy consumption, becoming eco-friendly, and altering our life,” she added.

"Before you buy, stop and think. Consider how much you need it before charging it to your wallet or your credit card. Likewise, before you throw, stop and think. We can repair, we can reuse, we can repurpose or we can recycle before it ends its life,” Osorio said.

Osorio also pointed out that the government sets the example of sustainability through the issuance of the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) Resolution No. 1363, Series of 2020, "Directing the DENR to prepare and implement the banning of the use of unnecessary single-use plastics by national government agencies, local government units’ offices, and all other government-controlled offices,"

Meanwhile, Osorio said the DENR-EMB embraces sustainability through its Integrated Information System or IIS —a paperless system that generates real-time reporting of data and statistics, and eventually inspection reports of solid waste management facilities from EMB regional offices. ###