DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The Ancillary Services Unit (ASU), a division under the City Mayor’s Office of the city government of Davao raised alarm over the disposal of plastic wastes in the city.
“Yes, it’s very alarming actually. If we are not going to stop throwing garbage to canals and everywhere especially in the upstream, it will eventually go downstream which will affect our waters, kill our fishes and all life in there.”
This was the statement made by Paul Bermejo of ASU in an interview with the media on Tuesday.
Bermejo said they do daily de-clogging operations of major canals in the city where they recover around 3.5 tons of plastic daily.
He added that another 133 sacks of waste are also recovered regularly by Bantay Dagat personnel particularly in the coastal area of Barangay 23-C.
He added that ASU recovers the highest number waste per week in Barangay 23-C compared to other coastal barangays in the city.
Bermejo also told reporters that improper waste disposals result in the clogging of the major canals in the city that usually cause flooding.
Meanwhile, the City Environment and Natural Environment Resources Office (CENRO) also raised the same observation, saying that the public lacks awareness on the proper disposal of wastes that causes problems like clogging of major canals.
In the same press conference on Tuesday CENRO Acing Head Engineer Dolly Remojo admitted that proper waste disposal has been the constant challenge of their agency considering that dumping of waste in Davao coastal areas pose a negative effect on the environment.
She said majority of the people do not practice the proper segregation of garbage as mandated by law.
Remojo emphasized that most of the wastes and garbage they collect, especially from residential areas, are mixed with recyclables and non-recyclables wastes.
“This is everybody’s concern, especially that the population of the city is getting higher. If we are not responsible for our garbage, this will be a big problem in the near future,” Remojo added.
Remojo viewed the continued practice of residents of improper disposal of wastes as a “failure” in their segregation campaign, though she also admitted that there are some communities in Davao City that practices the proper disposal of garbage.
CENRO’s 10-Year Solid Waste Management Plan intends to strengthen the campaign for proper waste disposal with the strict implementation of ‘No segregation, No collection’ rules in all communities and establishments in the city.
The Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 mandates all barangay officials to implement solid waste management in their respective localities.
However, Remojo admitted, only 20 percent of the total 182 barangays in Davao City comply with the law.
Remojo added that they are now working on to remind all barangay officials of their responsibilities on proper waste disposals.
The issue of waste disposal topped the news in Davao City since last week as local officials exchange words with Darren Blatchley, a marine mammal expert and the curator at the D’Bone Collector Museum
The discussions arise after Blatchley posted photos of clogged canals, particularly in Barangay 37-D, that went viral in social media after receiving various comments, likes, and shares.
The post then turned into an arena of discussions and exchange of words between Blatchley and Barangay 37-D Chair Prime Atillo.
Atillo for her part explained that the garbage problem in community was unsolved way before she became the chief of the barangay. Though she lauded Blatchley’s effort in giving public awareness, she questioned the authenticity of the photos posted in Blatchley’s social media account.
Atillo said she already ordered the clean-up of wastes on March 23, few days after the discovery of a dead whale with 88 pounds of plastic in its belly.
The barangay chief also explains that their community is one of the catch basins of waste materials coming from different areas of the city.
She pointed out that people living in the area do not have any interest in cleaning their garbage and the practice of proper waste disposal. (davaotoday.com)