“The ocean and other water bodies are turning into pollution hotspots where huge amounts of non-
biodegradable trash, particularly plastics, are dumped daily and thus creating floating landfills. damaging
and killing the marine ecosystems,
According to the EcoWaste Coalition, the ocean is home to diverse creatures and ecosystems that
provide humans not only with food, but also with vital ingredients for medicines and other products.
The ocean helps in regulating the climate as well as in spawning storms that bring fresh water needed by
land-dwelling plants and animals. The ocean is also important for moving materials between continents
and for creating jobs from related industries such as fishing, trade and tourism.
A discards survey conducted in 2006 by the EcoWaste Coalition and Greenpeace Southeast Asia reveals
that synthetic plastic materials account for 76% of the floating trash in Manila Bay, out of which 51% are
The EcoWaste Coalition also called to mind a report in 2006 by the United Nations Environment
Programme (UNEP) saying that every square mile of ocean contains 46,000 pieces of floating plastic
Proudly carrying their bayong and cloth bags, the green activists led by film actor and environmentalist
Roy Alvarez, mingled with vendors and buyers, providing them with “Ayaw Ko ng Plastik” leaflets that
explain the problems with the obsessive use of plastic bags and the need to switch to reusable ones for
the sake of the environment.
A study made by the EcoWaste Coalition and Greenpeace Southeast Asia in 2006 showed that 76% of
the floating trash in Manila Bay were mostly synthetic plastic materials, with plastic bags comprising
51%, sachets and junk food wrappers 19%, Styrofoams 5% and hard plastics 1%. The rest were rubber
10% and biodegradable discards 13%.
“The dumping and burning of discards add to the warming of the planet. Worse yet, by destroying
materials that could be reused, recycled or composted, these dirty disposal practices drive a climate
changing cycle that demands new resources to be extracted, processed, transported, and dumped or
burned in our communities,” said Manny Calonzo of the EcoWaste Coalition and GAIA.
“Stop Trashing the Climate” documents the link between climate change and unsustainable patterns of
consumption and wasting, dispels myths about the climate benefits of landfill gas recovery and waste
incineration, and offers a roadmap for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Ecowaste Coalition is a network of non-government and public interest groups promoting
ecological waste solutions to achieve Zero Waste Goals. june 8 2008
Both the Republic Act 9003 (Ecological Solid Waste Management Act) and Republic Act 9275 (Clean
Water Act) provide fines and penalties for the illegal dumping of discards in canals, esteros, rivers and
other water bodies. May 18 08
“Anyone who generates waste has the responsibility to make sure that the waste is dealt with in a
manner that will not bring harm to humans or other creatures or the environment. It therefore does
away with the old, discredited practice of garbage hauling and dumping which pollutes our air, water
and soil and causes inestimable damage to our health and biodiversity,” Marie Marciano, MEF President,
said. May 15 08
Among the recipients of the MEF’s “Out of the Box” Awards include the Northern Samar Provincial
Government for issuing an official resolution to adopt the zero waste framework for the entire province;
Caloocan City for being the first to employ the "citizen's suit" in its push for citywide compliance with
R.A. 9003; Sta. Barbara, Iloilo for its municipal ban on plastic and promotion of earth-friendly
alternatives; Teresa, Rizal for closing its dumpsite and taking steps to rehabilitate it;
BarangayBagumbuhay, Quezon City for residuals management; and Mayor Belmonte for his unique
incentive program of giving back to barangays 50% of garbage hauling costs saved by the city as a result
of their implementation of ecological solid waste management, which diverts wastes from dumpsites.
May 15 08
The waste and pollution watchdog insisted for full public disclosure of all steps that will
be undertaken by the DENR and the NSWMC to hasten the closure of all dumps even
before the ultimatum set by Sec. Atienza’s on 5 November 2008, including posting on
the DENR’s website all notices served against non-compliant LGUs and other relevant
efforts to assist LGUs to switch to ecological solid waste management.
Section 37 of R.A. 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act prohibits the
use of open dumps for the disposal of solid waste after the law took effect in 2001. The
same law directs the closure of open dumps on 16 February 2004 and that of controlled
dumps on 16 February 2006.
The latest published information from the DENR shows that as of May 2008 some 826 open
dumps and 359 controlled dumps continue to operate in brazen violation of the law.
Comparing the data with the NSWMC’s inventory in 2007, the EcoWaste Coalition noted that
the number of open and controlled dumps increased, rather than decreased, from 677 and 343 for
open and controlled dumps, respectively.
The above figures do not include the so-called “guerilla dumps” often seen in street
corners, vacant lots and waterways.
May 12 08
“Cutting back on the excessive use of plastic carry bags will lessen the demand for expensive oil as well
as minimize the waste and pollution resulting from the production, consumption and disposal of plastic
bags,” said Gigie Cruz of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Task Force on Plastics, adding that “our voracious
consumption of plastic bags is increasing our dependence on imported oil and polluting the
The eco-group cited the decision made by China’s State Council banning plastic shopping bags in all
stores nationwide effective 1 June 2008. This will reportedly save 37 million barrels of crude oil that is
required to manufacture plastic bags that Chinese consumers use every year, while
reducing plastic litter and disposal costs.
San Franciso, USA, a densely populated city of 740,000 people that consumes up to 200 million plastic
bags per year, also took the decision to ban plastic grocery bags. Supermarkets and pharmacies will have
to use recyclable or compostable sacks in lieu of plastic bags.
The ban that took effect in November 2007 is expected to reduce oil consumption by almost 800,000
gallons a year, and reduce as well carbon dioxide emissions by 4.2 million kilograms annually.
The “plasticization” of our lifestyle, observed the EcoWaste Coalition, ties into the swelling demand for
oil as plastic bags and other plastic stuff are made of crude oil, natural gas or other petrochemical
byproducts. For plastic bags alone, it is estimated that some 430,000
gallons of oil are needed to produce 100 million pieces of these omnipresent consumer items on the
Information obtained from the Worldwatch Institute, an independent research organization, indicates
that plastic factories around the globe mass-produce 4-5 trillion bags yearly and that consumers throw
about 500 billion bags annually. Plastic bags can last for over 1,000 years.
Consumers can also lobby local and national authorities to pass ordinances and laws that will ban plastic
bags like what China and San Francisco did, or impose tax on plastic bags like that in Ireland that
resulted to a 90% drop in plastic bag use during the past five years.
At the Senate, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago filed Senate Bill No. 1443 or the Plastic Bag Recycling Act,
while Sen. Manny Villar filed a bill requiring malls and stores to use environmentally-friendly shopping
bags instead of plastic bags. Jan30
The EcoWaste Coalition cited the prevalence of littering, open dumping, open burning, mixed waste
disposal, the proliferation of non-environmentally acceptable packaging materials and other acts
prohibited under the law as visible evidence to the failure of the multi-agency National Solid Waste
Management Commission (NSWMC) to curb wasting and promote ecological solutions to the waste
“R.A. 9003 visibly suffers from the same lethargic implementation that we see in other poorly enforced
environmental laws,” said Rei Panaligan, coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition, adding that the Commission,
currently headed by Environment Secretary Lito Atienza, has dismally failed in its duty and has to “wake
up from a deep slumber and get the law working for the people and the environment.”
“We urge the NSWMC and all local government units and sectors of the society to pursue ecological
solutions to the waste crisis and progress towards Zero Waste to rid our communities of stinking dumps
and bring in green jobs and livelihood opportunities from clean recycling for our people, especially the
waste pickers,” Panaligan stated.
Figures obtained from the Commission’s website show that over a thousand dumpsites continue to
operate in the country despite the explicit ban on dumping. The data, the Coalition clarifies, do not
include “guerilla” dumps often seen in street corners and vacant lots.
As for the required barangay-based Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs) or Ecology Centers, government
statistics show that only 1,714 MRFs serving 1,921 barangays of the country’s 41,994 barangays have
been set up to date.
The EcoWaste Coalition warned that dumping, illegal and punishable under the law, presents grave
threats to the health of residents and to the air, water and food supply as dumps yield toxic garbage
juices called leachate and discharge huge quantities of methane gas and other pollutants that contribute
to global warming and ill health.
The group lamented that some of these dirty disposal facilities are located near or within water systems,
watersheds, and protected areas such as those in Pier 18 in Tondo, Manila; Payatas, Quezon City; Tanza,
Navotas City; and in Rodriguez, Rizal. They also criticized the siting of new
dumps in environmentally-critical areas such as those being constructed or proposed in Norzagaray,
Bulacan; Ternate, Cavite; and Alburquerque, Bohol. Jan26
The EcoWaste Coalition recalls that plastic bags and other synthetic packaging materials constituted 76
percent of the four cubic meters of garbage collected in the 2006 waste survey it had conducted with
Greenpeace to verify the state of plastic pollution in Manila Bay.
Out of these 76 percent plastic discards, 51 percent were plastic carry bags, 19 percent junk food
wrappers and sachets, 5 percent styrofoams and one percent hard plastics. The remaining 24 percent
were rubber (ten percent) and biodegradable wastes (13 percent).
Along with less visible but equally harmful pollutants, plastics have smothered the bay’s mangrove, sea
grass, and coral ecosystems, and as in other coastal areas where plastic trash predominates, have led to
the death of birds and marine animals via ingestion or entanglement. March9
APPENDICES ON THE PHILIPPINES
14.2 Appendix 2: Environmental Issues In The Philippines
Environmental Issues In The Philippines www.asria.org
14.2.3 Solid Waste Generation
According to a World Bank study4, a Filipino generates around 0.3 to 0.7 kilograms of garbage
daily depending on income levels. The National Capital Region produces the highest amount
of waste accounting to 23% of the country's production, that is a quarter of the country's
generation waste as a whole. Accordingly, a study on the waste generation rate (grams/person/
day) by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in 1998 estimated that the total
4 World Bank. The Philippines Environment Monitor 2001. (Pasig City: Philippines: World Bank, December 2001).
waste generation in Metro Manila has been estimated at 5,350 tons per day in 1997 and was
projected to increase to 6,235 in 2005, approximately 2% increase per annum. However, a
recent survey by the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) in December 2000 estimates
that the generation rate in Metro Manila has grown to 4.5% annually in the last four years.
Metro Manila's solid waste is highly organic and recyclable. Forty-nine percent of this is
biodegradable and includes large amounts of kitchen waste and to a lesser extent, garden
waste. This high percentage of biodegradable waste indicates that it could be used as compost.
There is also a great potential for recycling, as 42% of the waste is made of recyclable items
such as paper, plastic and metal.
Presently, only the re-opened San Mateo and Carmona Sanitary Landfills serve as the official
disposal sites for Metro Manila's solid waste but are not currently operated according to design.
There are no functional rainwater diversion and gas collection systems and the leachate
treatment systems do not function properly. On average, records show that each landfill received
1,800 and 730 tons respectively before their closure in 2000-2001. Both sites contain over 23
million cubic meters of degrading waste.
Nationwide, the prevalent practice of solid waste disposal is still through open dumping, although
some cities and municipalities have already started converting or are planning to convert their
open dumps to controlled dumpsites and sanitary landfills. Incidentally, only 5% of the estimated
hazardous waste generation of nearly 2.4 million tons are recycled or treated annually and a
portion of this are incinerated but today, incineration is no longer an option as it has been
theoretically banned after November 2003 following the passage of the Clean Air Act of 1999.
Out of the total generation, 6,750 tons/year come from hospitals all over the country, and are
considered hazardous and infectious waste.
Many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have been active since the early 1990's through
recycling programs such as the Zero Waste Recycling Movement and the Metro Manila Linis
Ganda, Inc. (Linis Ganda). In 2000, Linis Ganda purchased 101,850 tons of waste paper,
corrugated boards, cutlets, plastics, and metals worth PhP 132.5 million. These recyclable
materials were, in turn, sold to factories. Linis Ganda also organized the Federation of Multipurpose
Cooperatives, an association of 17 environmental cooperatives with 572 member
junk shops employing more than 1,000 eco-aides. Members of the cooperative are granted
loans without collateral; eco-aides are also given seed money to buy recyclables. Linis Ganda
recycles only 4.5% of waste generated in Metro Manila. The group hopes to increase its recycling
activities to 15%. The expansion would require 1000 additional junk shops and 2,500 ecoaides
Recently, the sustained efforts of many civil society and community organizations led to the
drafting of Republic Act 9003 also known as the Ecological Waste Management Act of 2000,
which was signed into law in 2001. With the passage of R.A. 9003, open dumpsites shall no
longer be allowed as final disposal sites. The act provides the closure or eventual phase out
within a specified period if such dumpsites still exist. As an alternative, sanitary landfill sites
shall be developed and operated as final disposal sites. It also requires LGUs to "divert" 25%
of trash collection to recycling in "material recovery facilities" to be constructed in every
barangay or clusters of villages. A US$ 1.25 Million Technical Assistance for Metro Manila
Waste Problems from the ADB has been allocated for implementation of this act.
JOEL V. MANGAHAS1
1With research inputs from Prof. Simeon Ilago, Dr. Romulo Miral, Mr. Jose Tiu
Sonco, Mr. Julius Dumangas, and Ms. Ely Cureg.
The rapid pace of urbanization in the Philippines poses a wide range of challenges.
The countryÊs population growth rate·which is one of the highest in
the world·places serious strains on the economy.2 In 2005, the population
was 82.8 million, of which 51.8 million or 63% lived in urban areas. Metropolitan
Manila is the most densely populated urban area with 10.7 million.
In 2000, there were 42 capital cities or urban agglomerations. From 2005 to
2015, the estimated average growth of capital cities or urban agglomerations
is 28%. By 2030, the urban population is estimated to reach 85 million or
approximately 70% of the total population (Figure 11.1). About 20% of the
urban population is below the national poverty line (UN Millennium Indicators
Metro Manila and other urban centers in the Philippines already exhibit
many problems associated with unmanaged urbanization, such as pollution,
inadequate water supply, weak sewerage infrastructure and waste disposal,
high unemployment and crime rates, presence of squatter colonies, and traffic
congestion. Population growth and urban migration have also resulted in
the premature conversion of productive agricultural lands for residential and
other urban uses. Lack of economic opportunities and poverty in the countryside
leads to low productivity and destructive activities that threaten the
already fragile ecosystem. The devastating typhoons and numerous landslide
and flooding incidents in the recent past attest to the environmental degradation
that besets the country.