Banning the greed-A A +A
By Tyrone Velez
Thursday, June 28, 2012
STARTING today, Thursday, barring any last-minute postponement, Davao City would be saying bye to plastic bags and styro foam with the implementation of the City Council ordinance banning the use of some plastic materials.
This is in compliance to Republic Act 9003, known as the Ecological Solid Waste Management Program.
In terms of legislation and action on environment protection, the Davao City Council has its lows, among which is the approval of the coal-fired power plant in Toril, to its high marks such as its ban on open-pit mining in the city.
The ban on plastics is another landmark action in response to the problem of waste pollution. An urban center like Davao, which has one million residents using plastic bags day by day, the disposal of such materials has been a problem, which is one of the causes of clogs in drainage contributing to floods.
With the ban on plastics, alternatives such as paper bags and baskets which are environmentally sound will come.
The ban has elicited appeals for exemptions and amendments from businesses engaged in the selling of plastics. Politics may be about compromise, but I hope the City would not compromise on the concern for the environment.
Let us hope that Davao can say with a firm hand: "Bawal ang plastic sa Davao."
While local officials act with concern on the environment impact of industries, the national government is bending whatever which way, but is actually hell-bent to push for the open-pit mining investments.
President Noynoy Aquino III last week has declared it is issuing an executive order that will seek to balance the interests of mining companies and communities in the uplands.
This EO he said would identify areas such as tourism spots and Minahang Bayan as exempted from mining applications.
But such EO is facing opposition. One of this comes from governors in 40 provinces who saw through their experiences that the province benefited little financially from mining investments, and worse it has affected rivers, forests and agriculture.
The major opposition comes from the communities and multi-sectoral groups from the religious and academe such as Kalumaran and Panalipdan Mindanao. They point out that the EO is an extension of the Mining Act of 1995 or RA 7942 which allows foreign mining companies to apply and operate on lands for 25 years with benefits such as tax exemptions.
These groups point out that already Mindanao provinces are swamped with mining applications covering thousands of hectares. At present communities are alarmed with the drillings and operations of mining sites that have caused displacements and triggered pollution and floods such as in Caraga.
Aquino and local officials are now locked on deciding the future of our natural resources, or whatever remains of it. With this EO, Aquino thinks he can override the local officials’ initiatives to ban open-pit mining, such as the environment code in South Cotabato that has stopped Xstrata Mines, or the League of Municipalities resolution to stop such mining activities.
It is also time that we voice out our concern. Noynoy should realize there is no compromise to our concern of selling out our land for profits. Let us say: Bawal ang Sakim.
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Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on June 28, 2012.