MIXED, STINKING GARBAGE OF METRO OFFICIALS EXPOSED

Mayors hit for "hypocrisy" and "sabotage" of Ecological Solid Waste Management Act

Press release - October 26, 2001
The environmental group Greenpeace together with allies from the Eco-Waste Coalition (1) today accused the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and some Metro Manila mayors of insincerity and hypocrisy in solving the garbage problem, after the group literally bared the unsegregated and stinking trash of key metropolitan officials before media cameras.

The environmental group Greenpeace together with allies from the Eco-Waste Coalition (1) today accused the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and some Metro Manila mayors of insincerity and hypocrisy in solving the garbage problem, after the group literally bared the unsegregated and stinking trash of key metropolitan officials before media cameras.

In a press conference, the coalition exposed the mixed and smelly rubbish which the group earlier took from the residence of Pasay City Mayor Peewee Trinidad, the neighborhood of MMDA Chair Benjamin Abalos, and from the city hall of Manila Mayor Lito Atienza, to draw attention to the blatant violations and non-implementation by government officials of Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

The coalition blamed the local government executives for failing to avert the garbage crisis in the metropolis, highlighting the hypocrisy of the same officials who are first to complain about trash but are not even doing anything in their own backyard to manage the problem effectively. Worse, the group believes that the MMDA and the mayors are willfully sabotaging RA 9003 given their lax and almost apathetic execution of waste prevention strategies in their areas and their persistent reliance on high-priced back-end disposal schemes like landfills and incinerators.

"No wonder we have a garbage crisis. The officials who are supposed to implement the law are guilty of violating it themselves. Declaring a state of emergency when you are not doing anything to prevent the problem from escalating, is the height of hypocrisy. The current calamity is the product of lazy and incompetent governance, bolstered by these officials' persistent fondness for quick and questionable fixes," said Von Hernandez, convenor of the Eco-Waste Coalition and Campaign Manager for Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

RA 9003, the first law signed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, mandates the segregation of garbage at source, the separate collection of discards and gives preferential treatment to the construction of material recovery facilities over open dumps and landfills. The law also seeks to spur the development of markets for recyclable materials and prohibition on non-environmentally acceptable packaging. The law specifically requires local government units to execute the said waste prevention strategies.

"After allowing the problem to fester, these officials have succeeded in creating a situation in which they now hope to bamboozle the public into accepting costly and unjust solutions to this predicament. Unfortunately, because of their incompetence and their failure to implement the law, other communities who will end up receiving Metro Manila's trash are bound to suffer," said Greenpeace Toxics Campaigner Francis de la Cruz.

Greenpeace also decried attempts by some Metro mayors and their allies in Congress to lift the ban on waste incineration in the Clean Air Act, stressing that the ban should not be used as another scapegoat for the government's failure to address the waste crisis effectively.

"Contrary to the propaganda of the incinerator pushers, burning will not make waste magically disappear. Aside from trapping our local and national governments into inflexible and tremendously costly economic schemes, incineration will exacerbate the problem by encouraging the generation of more waste and by transforming it into a deadly air pollution menace," added de la Cruz.

Moreover, the group cited the deficient funding being allocated by Congress to the implementation of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act as further proof of the government's short-sightedness and lack of political will to see real solutions through./ends

Notes: (1) The Eco-Waste Coalition is a national alliance of more than a hundred organizations campaigning for the implementation of ecological waste management programs. Member groups include Mother Earth, Linis-Ganda, Recycling Movement of the Philippines, Concerned Citizens Against Pollution, Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement, Lakay Kalikasan Mountaineers, Philippine Greens, Greenpeace, Landfill Watch - NASSA , Cavite Green Coalition, Mamamayan ng Montalban ayaw sa Basura, etc.

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