In the direction of the country’s development, be it on living standards, waste management, economic crisis and many others, do you think we are progressing? Fearing that, country is not making any progress contrary to the pronouncements. Not relying on the statistics, the economy is on its pits, poverty is unchecked and the alarming waste management is worsening. The Philippines is NOW looming with garbage problems despite the passage of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act or the Republic Act (RA) 9003. 2007 first quarter data from the National Solid Waste Management Commission shows that there are 677 open dumpsites, 343 controlled dumps, and 21 landfills in the country. An additional 307 dump sites are subject for closure or rehabilitation plans but without definite schedules for enforcement. About 215 additional landfills are being proposed to be set up nationwide. About 1,000 open and controlled dump sites exist in the country.
Prominent dumps all over the country can be found in Antipolo and Montalban in Rizal; Baguio City; Calapan, Mindoro Oriental; Carmen, Cagayan de Oro; Mandurriao, Iloilo City; Obando, Bulacan; and San Pedro, Laguna. Environmentalists stress that Republic Act 9003 calls for the adoption of the best environmental practices in ecological waste management and explicitly excludes waste incineration as an ecological option. These polluting disposal facilities are major sources of greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere which adds to global warming. Landfills and open dumps, according to studies, account for 34 percent of human-related methane emissions to the atmosphere, a global warming gas that has 23 times more heat-trapping power than carbon dioxide.
These landfills and open dumps are illegal under RA 9003. Incinerators, on the other hand, have significantly higher levels of greenhouse gas emissions (per kilowatt) than a coal-fired power plant when all of the carbon coming out of an incinerator stack is measured. Such emissions are banned by the country’s Clean Air Act. Inaction on garbage contributes to the death of at least two persons every minute due to complications from environmental problems, which could be prevented if the country only developed a more efficient environmental management program.
Mismanagement of waste has serious environmental consequences: ground and surface water contamination, local flooding, air pollution, exposure to toxins, and spread of disease. Many of the disposal sites contain infectious material, thus threatening sanitation workers and waste-pickers. Annual waste generation in the Philippines is expected to grow 40 percent by 2010. Improvements in recycling, collection, and disposal will become even more critical as garbage production continues to increase with population growth and economic development.