Cebu City to critics: We enforce new garbage collection policy-A A +A
Sunday, March 17, 2013
ALMOST two years since the Cebu City Government implemented the “no segregation, no collection” garbage policy, it has apprehended 6,064 violators.
However, the City Environmental Sanitation Enforcement Team has only filed 647 cases.
“Budgetary constraints and lack of support are what is preventing the present administration from filing more cases,” said Atty. Janesis Ponce, head of the Solid Waste Management Board.
Notice to sue
Mayor Michael Rama earlier proposed a P6.7-billion budget for City Hall’s operation this year, but the City Council only approved P5.19 billion.
Ponce said some violators opt to pay the P500 compromise fine or render community service, while first-time offenders are warned and required to attend seminars.
Ponce’s pronouncements followed after some environmentalists in Metro Cebu issued a notice to sue the City for its alleged failure to implement environmental laws, such as City Ordinance 2031, which mandates the “no segregation and no collection” garbage policy and Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.
The notice was penned by seven signatories that included Atty. Gloria Estenzo-Ramos of the Philippine Earth Justice Center and Aaron Pedrosa Jr. of the Freedom from Debt Coalition.
In his seven-page response to the notice to sue, Ponce said it is unfair for environmentalist to issue “sweeping” statements that there is lack of action and implementation of environmental laws.
He said the City has not suspended the implementation of the “no segregation, no collection” policy.
“There are even streamers still in place in our streets that remind people of this policy. People were also made aware that there are penal consequences for those who violate our laws and ordinances regarding garbage. People have been regularly accosted and fined and in some instances even prosecuted,” he said.
“Government can only do so much. It is not a defense for one to dirty our streets and then claim later that it isn’t his fault as the government failed to remind him for the nth time of the law that he has violated,” he added.
Ponce said the P4-billion waste-to-energy (WTE) project earlier proposed by Greenergy Solutions Inc. that was to be implemented at the Inayawan Sanitary Landfill would have helped address the city’s garbage problem, but the environmentalists opposed it.
The project was also supposed to employ scavengers at the landfill.
The environmentalist had opposed the project when the City Council held a public hearing in October last year, saying that it is an incineration plant in disguise.
Even without the WTE, Ponce said the City will continue to implement environmental laws and manage solid waste.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 17, 2013.