The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)—through its Environmental Management Bureau (EMB)—is urging everyone to step up to the plate and be part of the solution to the growing waste management problem after the country observed last month the National Zero Waste Month.
Believing that every action counts when it comes to solid waste management, the EMB said it is high time people take responsibility and do their best to properly dispose waste with zero waste living—reuse, reduce, recycle—on top of everyone’s mindset.
According to the EMB, each person’s action matters as the country already suffers from garbage overload, lack of land to serve as sanitary landfills, and even the mismanagement of these solid waste disposal systems.
The EMB said it is vital that households and communities have zero waste strategies in place, especially since Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 has been in effect for 22 years now.
Among these strategies are composting organic wastes, switching to reusable containers and bags instead of using single-use plastics, segregating wastes, and retrieving recyclable materials.
The EMB expressed confidence the newly enacted Extended Producers Responsibility (EPR) Act of 2022 or RA 11898 would remarkably aid in addressing the country’s solid waste and plastic pollution problems.
The EPR Act, which lapsed into law on July 30, 2022, mandates enterprises to establish EPR programs that focus on waste reduction, recovery, and recycling of plastic packaging. It also promotes the development of environment-friendly products that advocate sustainable consumption and production, circular economy, and full responsibility throughout the life cycle of products.
Last month, the DENR spearheaded several activities for the dual celebration of National Zero Waste Month with the theme “Stepping Up Solid Waste Management through Efficient Extended Producers’ Responsibility,” and the 22nd anniversary of the signing of RA 9003.
Activities held were aimed to boost proper solid waste management and EPR through spreading awareness and raising commitments with government agencies, local government units (LGUs), and the private sector.
On February 9-10, the EMB will host a conference of various stakeholders for sharing of initiatives toward an efficient EPR and a ceremonial commitment of the industry sector to EPR compliance and submission to the EPR program.
In collaboration with the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the DENR gathered on January 10 and 11 the LGUs nationwide to facilitate the submission and endorsement of the remaining 10-year solid waste management plans (SWMPs) to the National Solid Waste Management Commission, which aims to achieve 100 percent approval of SWMPs this year.
The observance of National Zero Waste Month during January of every year is pursuant to Proclamation No. 760 signed in 2014 by then President Benigno S. Aquino Jr. ###