As the May 2022 national and local elections draw closer, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is hoping that the next administration would continue the country's solid waste management programs, particularly by increasing funding for local government units (LGUs) and working on the amendment of Republic Act (RA) 6969 or the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act of 1990.
"For those who will be elected into office, my main suggestion is to focus on assisting LGUs by giving appropriate funding to address the garbage problem in their localities," DENR Undersecretary for Policy, Planning and International Affairs Atty. Jonas R. Leones said.
Citing the data from the DENR's Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), Leones said that highly-urbanized cities and 5th class municipalities need around P300 million and P1 million to fund their solid waste management programs, respectively.
"Environmental compliance usually incurs high costs," he pointed out.
Leones also emphasized the vital role of private and public sectors in helping the national government address the country's garbage woes.
Meanwhile, DENR-EMB's Hazardous Waste Management Section Chief Geri Sañez said that not all LGUs have their own materials recovery facility and sanitary landfill, including treatment, storage and disposal facilities which are especially needed for hazardous wastes.
Sañez is hoping that the draft bill on the amendment of RA 6969 will be given priority to institutionalize circular economy and extended producer’s responsibility (EPR) for both municipal and domestic solid wastes and hazardous wastes.
"I hope that the next administration or whoever will be the next President will give priority to the draft bill amending RA 6969. This has already been approved in the House of Representatives but is still awaiting the Senate version of the bill. This has not been given priority for more than two decades already and is constantly being refiled and updated," Sañez said.
The proposed bill will serve as the legal basis to implement the concept of a circular economy and EPR.
Through the EPR, the manufacturer of the product will be given accountability for the treatment, disposal, or recycling of its post-consumer products.
Sañez added that the bill also incorporates provisions on contaminated sites management to address the massive redevelopment nationwide where former industrial sites are being developed into residential, commercial, or combination of both known as commercial business districts.###