Friday, November 15, 2013

Philippines News: DERN bats for garbage-free barangay polls (8 Nov 2014)


Environmental Management Bureau Web Portal

In anticipation of the barangay elections and "Undas," the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has urged the public to keep schools and cemeteries garbage-free during the upcoming holidays.
DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje said that just like any other public holidays, the village polls scheduled on Oct. 28 and the All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day on Nov. 1 and 2, respectively, are expected to significantly increase waste generation.
"Both occasions will undoubtedly have a festive atmosphere, with a lot of waste from campaign materials, food containers and the like," Paje said. "We remind Filipinos to be more creative with their needs and use materials that are reusable or recyclable so that we generate less solid waste," Paje said.
The environment chief added: "The easiest thing to remember about reducing waste is to utilize reusable or recyclable materials or containers especially when packing food and drinks, and to take time to throw trash in bins coded to segregate them accordingly."
An estimated 30,000 tons of garbage is generated in the country every day, with 8,000 tons produced in Metro Manila alone. The volume shoots up during public events.
For the barangay polls, Paje called on governors and mayors to ensure that the candidates observe a litter-free election and oversee the cleanup operations in schools and other polling precincts immediately after the polls.
He reminded that local government units have the "primary task" of enforcing the provisions of Republic Act (RA) No. 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000. Under the law, a person caught littering could be fined from P300 to P1,000, or render community service.
At the same time, Paje encouraged voters to "watch out for candidates who opt for an environment-friendly campaign and who will assist in cleanup activities afterwards, as these are good signs that they will make good on their duty to keep your community clean and green."
He said immediate cleanup activities after the elections would prevent trash from clogging waterways and cause floods during rains.
Paje also urged the candidates to revisit the joint memorandum circular issued by the DENR, Commission on Elections and the Department of the Interior and Local Government for the national and local elections held last May.
The circular was issued to make sure that local officials, political parties, party-list organizations, candidates, and their supporters would adhere to the provisions of RA 9003 during the campaign period.
As for the succeeding long weekend of Undas, where Filipinos are expected to troop to cemeteries to commemorate their departed loved ones, Paje gave the following tips to make the occasion garbage-free:

• Abide by local ordinances regarding the use of plastic bags
• Reduce wastage by bringing only a sufficient amount of food
• Use fresh flowers and small potted plants
• Lessen air pollution by ensuring that vehicles are well-maintained, observing carpooling, or using public transportation.#

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