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Instead of starting 2015 on a clean slate, many Filipinos face piles of trash lining up the streets in the wake of boisterous celebrations to usher in the new year, an environmental watch group bewailed on Thursday.
It is ironic that President Benigno Aquino III declared January as “Zero Waste Month” despite the reality that the revelries the night before leave streets on first day of the year littered with trash, according to EcoWaste Coalition.
To draw public awareness about the problem, EcoWaste Coalition volunteers mounted wooden signs at a roadside dumpsite along EDSA near the Balintawak Light Rail Transit Line 1 Station in Quezon City.
The signs read: January is Zero Waste Month: Waste Not, Dump Not, Burn Not” (In Filipino: “Walang Aksaya, Walang Basura”).
“Year in, year out, we find our surroundings buried in trash after the New Year’s revelry.
"In fact, the first day of the year is the busiest for street sweepers who have to clear large volumes of litter in parks and streets, as well as for garbage haulers who are in charge of refuse collection and disposal at our brimful dumps and landfills,” EcoWaste Coalition coordinator Aileen Lucero said.
Photos posted online showed discarded food containers were dumped along a canal in Manila's Sta. Cruz district as of 6 a.m.
The area fronting the Department of Foreign Affairs along Roxas Boulevard was also filled with trash.
January 2015 marks the first observance of January as Zero Waste Month by virtue of Proclamation No. 760 that the President issued in May 2014, Lucero noted.
The measure defines “zero waste” as “an advocacy to systematically avoid and eliminate the volume and toxicity of waste, conserve and recover all resources and not indiscriminately dispose or burn them.”
Lucero hopes the garbage problem will not worsen with the upcoming feast of the Black Nazarene on Jan. 9 and the Jan. 15 to 19 papal visit — with the concluding Mass on January 18 at Rizal Park coinciding with the feast of the Santo Niño.
“We cannot continue trashing our nation and the planet without end. Mother Earth is not a limitless source of raw materials, nor a boundless dumping ground for our refuse,” she said.
Citing data from the National Solid Waste Management Commission, EcoWaste Coalition warned that solid waste generation is projected to rise from 38,757 tons per day in 2014 to 39,422 tons per day in 2015 “due to rapid population increase, industrialization and development of our economy.”
Metro Manila’s population of over 12 million spread in 17 local government units is expected to generate 9,060 tons of waste per day in 2015, up from 8,907 tons in 2014. – Xianne Arcangel/VS, GMA News