DENR CL renews call for proper waste disposal

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga — Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Central Luzon has renewed its call to the public to do their part in the proper disposal and segregation of wastes. 

DENR Assistant Regional Director for Management Services Laudemir Salac said that with the accumulation of used face masks and other personal protective equipment which are mostly non-biodegradable during the pandemic, there is really a need to segregate trash. 

“Data from the Environmental Management Bureau shows that in the previous year, daily wastes generated nationwide reached about 5.59 million kilos. Of these mixed wastes, about 3.91 million kilos composed of both biodegradable and non-biodegradables; 1.39 million kilos are being disposed; while 279,920 kilos are residual wastes which should be disposed in sanitary landfill areas,” he said. 

With this amount of garbage generated daily, Salac stressed the negative impacts it can cause to the environment if these wastes were not properly disposed and segregated. 

One of these, he said, is water pollution, which can result if wastes will be dumped in creeks and estuaries and go down to the major river systems like Manila Bay, and ultimately down to the coastal areas. 

When this happens, Salac said marine resources will be contaminated and may die. In addition, this can also increase the risk of flooding if drainages get clogged with garbage. 

“There is also air pollution in cases of open dumpsite, where wastes just piled up and not segregated. In the process of decomposition of unmanaged waste, it produces methane gas which is one of the greenhouse gases that affects the ozone layer and contributes to global warming. Also, during this process, carbon dioxide is produced which can also contribute to a rise in atmospheric temperature,” he said. 

With these negative impacts to the environment, Salac urged the public to start proper waste management and disposal at home.  

He said people should be reminded of proper segregation, and the need to intensify recycling. 

“We should avoid single-use plastics. We don’t want bottled mineral water anymore. We advocate the use of tumblers. We need to beef up our recycling program in the Philippines since it is not yet very efficient. We keep on producing these PET bottles and this one-time use plastics like straws in fast foods that will just accumulate after use. However, we should start using alternatives to those,” he said.  

Salac cited the need to reduce, reuse, and recycle by transforming one product into another useful product; and refusing to use Styrofoams, and instead opt for biodegradable containers like those made of starch. 

DENR also urged municipal government to establish their own materials recovery facility and create compost pit for fertilizers. 

Salac assured that DENR will continue to strengthen public awareness through conduct of dialogues with barangay officials and their counterparts in the local government units to provide technical assistance and monitor their compliance to ecological solid waste management. 

“We will also continue with our information, education, and communication program to involve the community to further develop their behavior towards proper waste management,” he said.