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A two point review on the Philippines Solid Waste Management Act.

Solid Waste is now considered one of the critical problems in the Philippines. Generally, people think that as long as their garbage is collected, their problem is solved. In year 2000, answering the call for the need to address the garbage problem of the country, the incumbent president signed the RA9003 to what is called the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of the Philippines. The creation of the act was a result of enduring advocacies from both public and private many sectors on the imminent problem brought about by unsystematic handling of the countrys solid waste. Putting it short, the goal is plain and simple. Its an act providing for an ecological solid waste management program, creating the necessary institutional mechanisms, and declaring what are the prohibited acts. There are two points on this act that Id like to point out. For me, these are the major aspects to which focus must be set in order to fully realize the goal: First is the creation of the National Solid Waste Management Commission. Every law must have a monitoring and implementing body. Comprised by both national and local government units and some from the private sections, this team primarily holds the major role for the implementation and enforcement. With this teams composition, each sect provides the technical assistance and assistance to eliminate the barriers. But, what good is a program if it is not properly executed? Included in their responsibilities, the Commission shall formulate the necessary education promotion and information campaign strategies, develop and prescribe procedures for the issuance of appropriate permits and, facilitate and evaluate the implemented solid waste management program either for improvement and/or for other sectors to benchmark. Second, the law specifically declares in Sec. 2 that it is the policy of the state to adopt a systematic, comprehensive and ecological solid waste management system. A national solid waste management framework will be formulated. On a general basis, the framework shall cover the assessment of the SWM situation in the Philippines, analysis and formulation of actions, and provisions for measuring performance and standardization of acceptable procedures. This is where the solid waste management plan came about. Aiming to promote source reduction, recycling, composting, handling, collection and transfer schemes, and strengthen the final disposal procedures. Different strategies are implemented and are evolving in each aspect of the SWM plan. The first priority of the ecological SWM system has been identified as the volume reduction at the source. By reducing generation, if not eliminating, ay the source, there wont be any garbage to handle in the first place. Another one of their strategies is to strengthen the recycling programs, equating the word recycling to income. There is money in garbage! By expanding the markets for recyclables, more and more people are positive on segregating their garbage even at the household level. Its a two way system, the program hits its target on the waste reduction as result to the segregation and recycling, and the people take their share in the form of sales of the recyclables. Though the implementation if the program has been set, we still have a long way to go. There are also some issues and challenges on the implementation of the whole program (administrative,

economic/financial, technical), these will be bumps in the road that will later strengthen the whole system. With the law emphasizing primarily on the waste diversion schemes (reduction, segregation, recycling) and if with proper implementation, it definitely shows a great potential in addressing the problem on the garbage in the country.