Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna vowed that solid waste management will remain a top priority of the agency to reach its goal of approving the 10-year solid waste management plans (SWMPs) of more local government units (LGUs) nationwide.

"Our battle against solid waste continues and we will not stop until all our LGUs have their approved [SWMPs] and have implemented these. We will continue to act fast on the problems of unsegregated wastes ending up in sanitary landfills, COVID-19 healthcare wastes and the unchanged behavior of the majority of the Filipinos towards solid waste disposal,” Sampulna said.

The National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC), chaired by the DENR, will focus on having 185 LGUs with approved 10-year SWMPs by the end of 2022 as the commission continues to enforce Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

As of February 22, a total of 1,175 SWMPs out of the target 1,716 plans have been approved.

The NSWMC recently approved the SWMPs of Magallanes, Sorsogon; Balbalan, Kalinga; Pontevedra, Negros Occidental; and Abra in an en banc meeting on February 22.

The 10-year SWMP is a requirement under RA 9003 for the effective management of solid waste among cities and municipalities.

It contains strategies on proper waste collection, diversion, and disposal, as well as proper operation and maintenance of solid waste equipment and facility.

It also specifies actions such as information dissemination strategies to residents, the presence of materials recovery facility and sanitary landfill, biodegradable waste process, and partnership with organizations for their recycling.

An LGU with a drafted 10-year SWMP will undergo screening by the DENR-Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) regional offices, while further validations will be conducted by the DENR-EMB central office.

Lastly, it will go through deliberations and approval from the NSWMC members.

NSWMC Vice-Chair Crispian Lao also emphasized that the COVID-19 waste management plan will be included this year as one of the strategies in the 10-year plan under the guidelines in the NSWMC Resolution No. 1364, Series of 2020.

"The Commission chaired by the DENR commits to assist LGUs towards the approval of their solid waste management plans. We will not stop until we reach 100 percent approved [SWMPs] to have an environmentally-sound management of solid waste," Sampulna said.###