‘Segregate trash or suffer’ policy restarts March 1 in Cebu City

STARTING on Thursday, March 1, the Cebu City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CCENRO) will apprehend persons caught violating the “no segregation, no collection” policy.

But CCENRO may not be able to finish its orientation in the barangays by then, its executive head Nida Cabrera told reporters.

As of yesterday, Cabrera said they have already covered almost 80 percent of the 80 barangays in the city.

“(But we) might not be able to finish by March 1 because we’re not just conducting orientations in the barangays. We’re also going to the sitios to ensure that everyone is really educated about the policy. We assume that we can implement the policy even with the simultaneous orientation in some areas,” she said.

The policy falls under City Ordinance (CO) 2031 (solid waste segregation at source) and CO 1361, which provides for the issuance of citations to those caught urinating, spitting, littering, defecating in public places, or not following the correct schedule for garbage collection.

Violators will have to pay P500 as a compromise fee and render community service for 1 to 6 months, or the court may also order jail time.

Earlier, Cabrera said the policy has been in existence since 2011, but it stopped three years later due to “poor” enforcement.

This time, she assured that the policy will be strictly enforced and will be more successful.

In a letter to Association of Barangay Councils president Philip Zafra dated Feb. 26, Cabrera asked the barangays to support and cooperate on the re-introduction of the policy.

CCENRO has also asked each of the barangays to submit a copy of their collection schedule so that the Department of Public Services can incorporate it in their collection schedule.

As of 11 a.m. yesterday, only Barangays Kalubihan, Sambag I and II have already submitted their collection schedules to CCENRO.

“If everyone will cooperate, we will be able to reduce our garbage collection. We can then suggest to have a separate bidding for our biodegradable and non-biodegradable trash. If that happens, the City will be able cut down its expenses since the final disposal for biodegradable trash is bio waste,” Cabrera said.

If the policy is enforced strictly, the City is expected to get rid of around 20 to 30 tons of garbage from the 600 tons it collects daily.

Sought for comment, Zafra said they welcome the development. However, he would have wanted CCENRO to call for a general assembly with concerned agencies. “We have questions on whether there are barangay environmental officers assigned to hotspots and how to monitor those who secretly dispose of their trash. A general assembly would have been helpful for synchronization,” Zafra said.
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