THE economic boom of Davao City in the last decade is something to commend
about. In the last 10 years, we saw how the city has further evolved as the economic center of Mindanao.
However, coupled with this progress are some urban problems. One of those issues is on garbage. While Davao City is cleaner compared to its counterparts, the city has been experiencing a garbage problem -- whether it is within the canals or small litter along the streets.
On a daily basis, the city is producing up to 400 to 600 tons of garbage collected by the Davao City Environment and Natural Resources (Cenro). These wastes are dumped at the sanitary landfill.
In order for the city to reduce and manage its waste, it will be the work of everyone from the City Government unit to the barangay level to the people living within the city.
The City Government has already put in place policies when it comes to the waste management of the city. Most notable of these initiatives is the Ecological Solid Waste Management Ordinance of 2009, which requires households and establishments to segregate wastes into biodegradable, recyclable, and residual.
Under the ordinance, anyone who will be caught violating it will have to pay P300 fine and attend seminar for the first offense, P500 fine or five-day community service for the second offense, and P1,000 or 10-day community service for the third offense. The fourth and succeeding offenses shall be prosecuted by the court.
It is good to note that there are barangays in the city that are serious when it comes to implementing the ordinance. It is unfortunate to know that out of the 182 barangays in Davao City, only five are strictly implementing the ordinance. Interface Development Interventions for Sustainability (Idis) said these are Hizon, Catalunan Grande, Mahayag, Tacunan, and Gumalang.
With only five barangays implementing the ordinance strictly, there is still a long way to go for the city in waste management.
In order for the city to effectively implement its efforts on ensuring an environmentally friendly Davao City, the barangays must also actively participate. A clean barangay reflects a good barangay leadership.
In 2018, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) reminded barangays of their roles in ensuring that the environment is clean.
"Be advocates for the environment. Protection of the environment and proper solid waste management practices should start in our barangays in order to prevent clogging of drainage systems which may lead to flooding," DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año said.
The secretary also reminded barangays to implement policies of Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological and Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 like organizing its own Barangay Ecological Solid Waste Management Committee (BESWMC). The committee "shall take the lead in formulating a community solid waste management program consistent with the municipality or city."
However, the efforts of the government and the barangay are in vain if the people themselves fail to properly reduce and manage their wastes at home.
"[We need] to influence our fellow Dabawenyos to reduce their own waste consumption or waste production para at least, we will be able to contribute to lessening of our waste," Idis partnership building officer Ruel Kenneth Felices said.
We can start small by properly segregating our wastes at home, using less single-use plastics, using a reusable bag, bringing your own tumbler, and being more conscious of what we buy.
If we want to continue to keep Davao City clean, we have to work together.