Waste not - or else

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014


BEWARE the Ides of March. Uh okay, we're a bit late in the year for that. Can we make the Ides of August? After all, it's a valid warning. And a long time coming at that.

Councilor Carlos Jose Lopez, vice chair of the Sangguniang Panlungsod committee on environment and natural resources, warned that the sanitary landfill in Barangay Felisa has been found violating the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act (Republic Act 9003).

DENR's Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) Regional Office, Lopez warned, is ready to hex the Bacolod City Environment Office with a notice of violation for alleged non-compliance of waste management laws in Bacolod's sanitary landfill.

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Lopez said the EMB recited Bacolod City Hall's two environmental sins: the non-segregation of waste and absence of discharge waste permit and a multipartite monitoring council -- a group composed of the EMB, the SP committee on environment, and other officials -- to monitor the implementation and enforcement of RA 9003.

Frankly, this is non-news especially on the non-segregation of solid waste at the minimum of biodegradables and non-biodegradables.

"Look, Ma. The Emperor has no clothes," a boy cried out in Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale The Emperor's New Clothes.

In the fairy tale, two weavers who promise an Emperor a new suit of clothes that is invisible to those unfit for their positions, stupid, or incompetent. When the Emperor parades before his subjects in his new clothes, a child cries out, "But he isn't wearing anything at all!"

Oh so true. RA 9003 requires segregation at source, separation and post-separation collection, segregated collection, processing, marketing and sale of organic, and designated recyclable material generated for Bacolod and other local governments.

There is no such thing in the City of Smiles. Then as now. Just look at Metrowaste during the past administration and Enviroking under the present dispensation. All we have is collect, transport, and dump - the same it was in the beginning, is now. And ever shall be?

How many mayors did we have since the passage of RA 9003? How much has really changed?

We have a sanitary landfill. But how different is it from the dumpsites before RA 9003? Not much, if Councilor López is to be believed. Do we even see any education materials on the 3Rs and the virtue of waste segregation at source?

'Tis the rainy season and it's not time to be jolly, fa-la-la.

Who can be jolly when our sidewalk drainages are again filled with plastic, Styrofoam cups and cigarette butts litter in our downtown areas?

Section 8 of City Ordinance 531 mandates the local chief executive to create the Anti-Littering Task Force (ALTF), composed of three enforcers each from the Composite Enforcement Unit of the City Legal Office, the Department of Public Services, and the Environment and Natural Resources Office.

I often commute downtown. Neither hide nor hair of my chinny chin-chin do I see even the shadow of the ALTF - which I assume are not the street cleaners.

If we are to believe the Andersen fairy tale, if officials fail to see any of those items required by RA 9003, does that imply that they're unfit for their positions, stupid, or incompetent?

(bqsanc@yahoo.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on July 30, 2014.

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