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Improper Disposal Of Solid And Toxic Wastes In The Philippines

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The Philippines is found between the Philippine Sea and the South China Sea east of Vietnam. Its population has approximately reached 75 million with 57% considered urban and the remaining 38% below the poverty line. The economic growth that is accompanied by rapid industrialization and a growing population have put a lot of pressure on existing resources resulting into a variety of environmental problems. These environmental issues have been grouped into three parts by Anabelle E. Plantilla, Executive Director of Haribon Foundation:

a) brown - describes the pollution caused by industrial, urban, transport and energy sources and their single or collective impacts;

b) green - describes the environmental impacts caused by agriculture, deforestation, land conversion and the destruction of protected species; and

c) blue - describes all forms of water resources management.

I would be focusing on one of the major problems in the brown environmental issues which is the increasing solid and hazardous waste generation and improper management.

The alarming increase of improper disposal of solid and hazardous waste in our country is due to a number of reasons. Plantilla finds several causes of this such as: increasing population, lack of integrated solid waste management system, lack of environmentally sound disposal system, lack of public awareness & support and lack of toxic/hazardous waste treatment facilities. According to a research made by Christian Bryan Bustamante, solid waste is a perennial problem of every society in this planet and is the "granddaddy of all environmental problems" (Wells, 1996: 127). Melosi, a garbage historian once said that, "since human beings inhabited the earth, they have generated, produced, manufactured, excreted, secreted, discarded and otherwise disposed of all manner of waste." Apparently, Melosi was right in saying that human beings really have taken the Earth for granted by producing more and more waste. Plantilla said that solid waste generation rate has increased to 22,500 tons/day in 1999 and ј of this is from Metro Manila.

We all know that Metro Manila is 100% urban. 14, 440 persons live in the Metro Manila area and generates 5,350 tons of solid waste per day out of which 4% is recycled, 6% is disposed by the households, 63% is collected by the garbage trucks provided by the local government units and the remaining 27% is "illegally discharge of at open spaces, rivers, esteros, canals and other waterways, which brings about urban environmental problems, including poor sanitation in the living environments". (Innovative Practices in Solid Waste Management, 1999:1).

Several laws and action plans have been generated by the Metropolitan Manila Commission (MMC) in 1969, however, due to the lack of funds and the willingness of the local officials, they were never implemented. On the other hand, during the time of Marcos and Aquino, there were several policies concerning solid waste management that were created and approved by the national government. On February 25, 1999, another policy was approved by the Metro Manila Council as a response to the protest of the residence in Rizal province about the dumpsite in their area. The MMDA Ordinance No. 99-004 is entitled, "Regulation Governing Proper Refuse Management at Source in Metro Manila Area and for other Purposes," or, it is well known as, "color coding scheme on garbage segregation" was passed. The policy orders sectors or groups that produce solid waste to segregate properly their solid wastes according to their different kinds in order to reduce the volume of solid waste dumped into open dumpsites and landfills inside and outside Metro Manila. The policy introduces innovative ways in managing solid waste to the people of Metro Manila to achieve their objectives. According to the research by Bustamante, the Local Government Units (LGUs) spend 3% to 15% of their annual budget while the MMDA spends 40% of their annual budget for solid waste management.

According to Quiсones (1998:7), the Filipino people have a prevailing culture of dumping wastes in open lands, esteros, rivers and canals. Many people leave their garbage along the streets without concealing it properly



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