DENR, JICA join hands to strengthen LGU capacity for improved solid waste management

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed early this week the Record of Discussions (R/D) for the project aimed at strengthening the capacity of local government units (LGUs) in solid waste management (SWM) using the latest technologies. 

The R/D for “The Project for Capacity Development on Improving Solid Waste Management through Advanced/Innovative Technologies” was signed by DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu and JICA Philippines chief representative Susumu Ito in simple rites held at the DENR central office in Quezon City.

Cimatu described the DENR partnership with the Japanese government as “timely and relevant in addressing the issue of solid waste management in the country.”

“It (the project) will help improve the country’s SWM system, particularly the safety closure/rehabilitation of landfill, recycling, composting, waste segregation and operation of material recovery facilities (MRF),” he added.

The purpose of the R/D was to establish a mutual agreement for the detailed plan and implementation of the capacity development project, which is expected to run for the next three years. The cities of Quezon, Cebu and Davao have been chosen as pilot sites for the project.

As the agency responsible for the implementation of the project, the DENR has agreed to coordinate with other relevant organizations and ensure that the project’s self-reliant operation is sustained during and after the implementation period.

Soon after he assumed the DENR post, Cimatu declared that strict enforcement of laws on clean air, clean water and solid waste management will be on top of his priorities.

For his part, Ito said the capacity-building project was the “first step” in addressing the waste management issues in the Philippines.

“The signing of today’s record of discussions of this capacity development project signals a complete first step in helping the Philippines implement management solutions using advanced technologies,” Ito stressed.

He also said that through the cooperation, JICA will be able to share with the Philippines “our experiences and know-how on waste management.”

In August, Cimatu met with board members of the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP), an umbrella organization of elected government officials from provincial down to the barangay levels, in connection with the implementation of Republic Act No. 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

Cimatu then urged LGUs to be innovative in finding solutions to their respective garbage woes, with the end in view of protecting not only the environment but also the health of their constituents.

The DENR, meanwhile, was looking at WTE technologies as a “win-win solution” to the worsening garbage problem in the country, particularly in Metro Manila.

DENR Undersecretary for Policy, Planning and International Affairs Jonas R. Leones said the Department has tapped JICA to provide options and technologies to address garbage woes in the country, including capacity building opportunities for the agency’s technical staff.

“This project is JICA’s response to our request. Aside from the LGUs, our own people in the Environmental Management Bureau will also benefit from the project as they will be trained in monitoring SWM technologies,” Leones added.### 

Cimatu bats for ‘garbage-free’ Undas

Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu appealed to millions of Filipinos to make the observance of “Undas” more meaningful by keeping memorial parks and public cemeteries “garbage-free.”

Cimatu said that paying respect for the dead is not only shown by visiting them, but also by keeping their final resting place clean.

“Let us honor our departed loved ones the right way,” Cimatu said. “Let us leave them with our prayers and not with our trash.”

According to the environment chief, turning graveyards into dump sites during the observance of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day is “a form of disrespect towards the dead.”

“The Filipino custom of honoring our deceased loved ones includes prayers, visit to the cemetery, family reunions and eating together,” Cimatu pointed out.

He added: “However, as we get-together for this annual tradition, let us also practice proper waste segregation. Separate paper, plastic, metal and tin, glass, and food wastes.”

Cimatu urged those who will troop to memorial parks and public cemeteries to bring trash bags to be used for waste segregation, and to place their food in reusable containers instead of buying food packed in plastic and aluminum foils.

Visitors were also advised to bring their own water containers or jugs instead of buying water in plastic bottles, and avoid using plastic utensils.

The use of banig or woven mats, and foldable tables and chairs will also limit the use of newspapers and plastic sheets for seating and eating.

At the same time, Cimatu reminded local government units to properly collect and dispose of trash in designated sanitary landfills after Undas.

Since he assumed office last May, Cimatu has made it clear that strict compliance with laws on clean air, clean water and solid waste was on top of his priorities. ### 

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