Press Release
June 26, 2011

Legarda to LGUs: Implement Solid Waste Management Act Strictly
to Avoid Recurring Floods

As the floods caused by the rains from Typhoon Falcon subside and families return to their homes from evacuation centers, the strict implementation of the Solid Waste Management Law by local government units (LGUs) is one of the next crucial steps to undertake, Senator Loren Legarda today stressed.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, said that part of disaster risk reduction efforts is to solve the cause of floods that keep on recurring every time a tropical storm hits the country or when there are continuous or heavy rains.

"Our citizens cannot live in fear whenever there are heavy downpours, and we cannot keep on evacuating them to safer places every time a typhoon occurs. Time and again, there is a failure to solve the problem from its very source--clogged esteros, canals, and waterways caused by improperly thrown garbage. But this should no longer be a problem because we already have the Solid Waste Management Act (RA 9003). What we must do is to strictly implement this law," she pointed out.

Legarda explained that the Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, which she authored, provides for recycling as well as segregation of garbage at its source, segregated transportation, processing, treatment and proper disposal of solid waste. The law emphasizes on recycling so that less garbage is actually brought to the sanitary landfill and those brought to the final disposal site are effectively maintained.

"Our citizens must demand that their local government implement a genuine solid waste management system in accordance with the law. This is within their right since LGUs are primarily responsible for implementing RA 9003. Segregation and collection of solid waste shall be conducted at the barangay level for biodegradable, compostable and reusable wastes and the municipality or city are responsible for collecting non-recyclable materials and special wastes," she said.

The Senator also said that every citizen must do their part simply by segregating recyclable from non-recyclable items.

"We have to learn personal responsibility for one's own garbage and choosing the right items that can be recycled. Improperly thrown garbage, especially those that do not decompose, finds its way to esteros and different bodies of water leading to excessive flooding and overflowing. This causes the need for dredging, which entails expensive machinery," she added.

In line with this, Legarda has also filed Senate Bill 2759, which seeks to prohibit the use of non-biodegradable plastic bags by supermarkets, grocery stores, restaurants, department stores and other commercial establishments.

"I implore our local government officials and agencies not to be reactive. Do not focus merely on relief and rehabilitation efforts. The right attitude is to be proactive--preventing the occurrence of floods by finding solutions to end what causes it, so that we do not have to deal with the recurring evacuation and provision of relief goods to our displaced constituents. If one does the math, prevention will always be cheaper than relief and rehabilitation," Legarda concluded.

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