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Monday, September 23, 2019

50 face penalty for mixing their trash

CEBU City’s “no segregation, no collection” policy has existed since 2011, but it stopped three years after it began due to allegedly “poor” enforcement.

Seven years after that start, the City Government has again introduced the policy, this time, going down to the sitio level to make it more effective.

On its first day of implementation last Thursday, some 50 households from different barangays were issued citation tickets by the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CCENRO) for violating the policy.

According to CCENRO head Nida Cabrera, this may be because of a lack of commitment from households to the thrust to improve the city’s solid waste management.

Last March 1, three households each in Barangays Pari-an, Carreta and Lorega San Miguel were issued citation tickets by their barangay environmental officers (BEOs).

One household was also given a citation ticket in Barangay Cogon Ramos, while around 30 received citation tickets in Lahug. The rest were from Barangay Kamputhaw, where an orientation seminar on the policy is still ongoing.

Despite this, Cabrera remains positive that the number of violators will lessen as the City continues an information campaign while it simultaneously enforces the policy.

“The barangays have committed to help in our campaign. So far, I don’t have many problems because the barangays are responsive. We will just continue educating the public,” she said.

Types of trash

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.

It prohibits the disposal of trash in public places and the failure to segregate garbage into residual, non-biodegradable, biodegradable and special waste.

Biodegradable garbage includes food waste, fish guts and paper, while non-biodegradable trash include plastics, cans and Styrofoam.

Residual waste, on the other hand, includes rags and diapers. Special waste includes batteries, gadgets, bulbs and broken appliances.

The policy also prohibits the disposal of trash outside the scheduled time of collection and throwing garbage beyond five meters from the household and/or establishment’s gate.
Violators will have to pay P500 within seven days as a compromise fee and render community service for 1 to 6 months, or the court may also order jail time.

There are at least 200 BEOs in the city tasked to monitor and apprehend violators of the policy.

Cabrera said the BEOs have been tasked to visit at least 50 houses per barangay daily to check if homeowners have been segregating their trash.

“By sitio gyud ang focus, because we will grade them (barangays) on the percentage of households that have been segregating their garbage.”

Cabrera said that 15 days from the date of implementation, CCENRO will put up tarpaulins on the assessment reports per barangay.

The report will indicate how many sitios have been practicing the policy in a certain village to help BEOs and barangay officials check their progress and look for means to strengthen their information drive.

For opposition Councilors Phillip Zafra, Joel Garganera and Raymond Garcia, CCENRO should strengthen its coordination with the barangays to ensure the policy is effective.

Garganera and Garcia both said that while coordination among concerned agencies is essential, the key to proper solid waste management lies in the discipline each individual exhibits.

Zafra, president of the Association of Barangay Councils, said that while they have been supportive of the policy, there are still issues that need to be addressed. He asked whether there are BEOs assigned to hotspots. Also, who’s supposed to monitor those who secretly dispose of their trash?

He pointed out the need to coordinate with collection schedules and if there are trucks readily available to serve as backup for those that may be stuck in traffic, especially in the south district.

Zafra, who is also Tisa village chief, said they can also deputize barangay personnel to help CCENRO monitor violators.

Meanwhile, Mayor Tomas Osmeña expressed his concerns on the possibility that the number of violators may increase.

“I’m scared that no one will follow because if no one will follow, what do I do? Of course, we will not collect the garbage. But when people start getting sick, what do I do? We will see, basically, what the public response should be.”
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