Litter, mixed garbage send 77 to court

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012


SEVENTY-SEVEN persons are facing a case in court for failing to segregate their garbage or violating Cebu City ordinances that prohibit littering and urinating in public.

The number is less than three percent of the 3,182 persons apprehended by the Cebu City Environmental Sanitation Enforcement Team (CESET) from January to June this year.

Those who were not brought to court opted to render community service or paid the compromise fee of P500.

For June alone, 952 were issued citation tickets for violations of City Ordinance 1361 or the “Ordinance establishing a system of garbage collection and imposing fees therefore”; City Ordinance 2031, which requires waste segregation; and Republic Act 9003 or the Solid Waste Management Act.

The number of apprehensions for June is five times more than the number recorded in January, when the CESET was not yet under the City’s Department of Public Services.

Engineer Norman del Mar, head of the CESET, attributed the increase to the additional barangay environmental officers (BEOs) who monitor the city’s streets from morning to evening.

“We have more people roaming the streets not just to issue citation tickets but also to conduct information drive on the proper disposal of garbage. They also work longer hours now, sometimes up to 1 a.m.,” he told Sun.Star Cebu.

In the last four months, the BEOs have been focusing on urban barangays to ensure cleanliness in major thoroughfares and in areas visited by tourists, including Colon St. in Barangay Kalubihan, and in Barangays Sto. Nino, Kamagayan and Parian.

The common offenses are indiscriminate throwing of garbage such as cigarette butts and food wrappers, urinating in public and non-segregation of wastes.

Ordinance 1361 prohibits spitting, urinating and defecating in public; failure to clean one’s surroundings; failure to provide proper waste receptacle; and the posting of graffiti, posters and handbills, among others.

Ordinance 2031, on the other hand, prohibits the disposal of hazardous waste, disposal of waste outside the day of collection, disposal of waste beyond the scheduled time of collection, and mixing of segregated waste.

CESET is also tasked to enforce RA 9003, which prohibits littering, non-segregation or improper segregation of solid waste, improper use of trash cans and burning of waste.

Once a citation ticket is issued, the erring person should report to the CESET office at the Ramos Public Market within seven days to settle the compromise fee or render community service.

Those who do not show up in seven days will face a complaint in court.

Of the 3,182 people who were apprehended for violating the laws, 392 paid the compromise fee of P500 wile 143 rendered community service. There were 76 individuals, mostly senior citizens and children, who were given warnings instead of being made to pay.

CESET has collected P200,000 in compromise fees so far this year.

Some also signed an agreement to settle the fees on a later date. As for the rest, del Mar said they are preparing to file complaints against them in court.

Del Mar reminded the public to follow the local and national laws on proper waste disposal and segregation to avoid paying fines or facing a case in court, or worse, imprisonment.

He also advised tourists or those who live outside Cebu City to get information on city ordinances regarding solid waste management and other environmental concerns to avoid getting in trouble with enforcers.

“A lot of those who were apprehended are not from here and they tell us that they don’t know it’s a violation or there’s a law prohibiting these acts. They should check our local laws if they plan to come here,” del Mar added.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 11, 2012.

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