Editorial: Better implementation of environmental laws

COMPARED to other major urban centers in the Philippines, Davao City is as clean as it can be. That is a huge thanks to the efforts of the local government unit to ensure that the city is at its cleanest. We also acknowledge the work our street sweepers and garbage collectors put in every day, this despite that they do not get enough thanks from the other people living in the city.

However, as Davao City continues to grow and become more urbanized, it also faces harder challenges when it comes to protecting the environment. For example, the city is experiencing a growing garbage problem. This is quite evident at some of the canals in the city that are clogged with trash, shores lined with trash, and small pieces of garbage scattered everywhere.

According to Davao City Councilor Diosdado Angelo Mahipus Jr., who chairs the committee on environment and natural resources, one of the leading causes of the growing garbage problem in Davao City is the increase of the usage of single-use plastics.

His committee is looking into amending the Ecological Solid Waste Management Ordinance of 2009. They are eyeing to include the banning of single-use plastic in the amended ordinance.

During his privilege speech, Mahipus said the current ordinance is already good as it is and there is no need to craft a separate ordinance.

However, Mahipus commented on how there is a lack of implementation of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Ordinance of 2009.

"The ordinance is already a good one, although admittedly the implementation is having a hard time due to a large number of plastics scattered in the coastal areas," he said during the 19th City Council Media Briefing at the City Council.

We can safely say the lack of proper implementation of environmental laws in the country is also the reason why there is a growing environmental problem in not only Davao City but also in the country as a whole.

Local environment group, Interfacing Development Interventions for Sustainability (Idis) stated in their 2018 report that the Watershed Code and Rainwater Harvesting Ordinance have yet to be properly implemented.

During a 2018 forum on the Rainwater Harvesting Ordinance, Idis reported how there was a lack of awareness and implementation of the ordinance. This, despite the ordinance being enacted in 2009.

Engineer Tender Ferolin of AdDU's Ecoteneo said if the ordinance is strictly implemented, it will reduce flooding and preservation of water resources.

While we welcome the amendment of environmental laws to keep up with the times and the crafting of new policies to address new environmental issues, we also need the government to properly implement these laws.

Strict implementation of these environmental laws may play a huge part in rescuing us from environmental degradation.


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