Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu on Monday called on the public to do their share in helping the government rehabilitate Manila Bay. Cimatu said solid waste management is everyone’s responsibility.
He lamented that tons of trash were washed ashore on Manila Bay due to incessant rains brought about by the enhanced southwest monsoon or “hanging habagat.”
“As the primary government agency responsible for the environment, we would like to remind all Filipinos that it is not solely the duty of the DENR to be the guardian of the country’s environment and vast natural resources,” he said.
“We are all in this together. As stewards of nature, we must ensure that wastes are properly managed and disposed of,” he added.
The agency’s solid waste management program is one of Cimatu’s priority programs when he assumed office in 2017.
Citing data from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-National Capital Region’s West Field Office, he said that 12,187 sacks of solid waste were collected from the Baywalk area on July 16-29 after continuous rains inundated parts of Metro Manila and several Luzon areas.
Among the garbage that was collected were single-use plastic cups, plastic bottles, and personal items, such as bags, shoes, slippers, and clothes.
Health care wastes, bamboo poles and wooden planks, water hyacinths, and dead animals were also retrieved.
Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units Concerns Benny Antiporda said the DENR will “tightly and closely monitor the solid waste management operations of all local government units, especially those that pollute waterways that flow to Manila Bay.”
“LGUs must not be complacent in what they used to do. We have our eyes, ears and nose on you,” he said.
He said all LGUs should have “an honest-to-goodness residual waste disposal system or face the penalties imposed by Republic Act (RA) 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.