The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has lined up activities this January to celebrate the 21st anniversary of the enactment of Republic Act (RA) 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu emphasized that the observance of RA 9003 anniversary should be a "constant reminder to the public to be mindful of segregating their wastes and disposing them properly."

"Now more than ever, the public should be mindful of their consumption as more wastes are produced during the pandemic. May this observance be not just a reminder this month but the start of a long-term habit and behavioral change among Filipinos," Cimatu said.

Signed into law on January 26, 2001, RA 9003 mandates the adoption of a systematic, comprehensive, and ecological solid waste management program in the country.

The DENR, through the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) and the Strategic Communication and Initiatives Service (SCIS), will be conducting various activities leading up to the anniversary of the signing of RA 9003.

A webinar on the 3Rs (Reduce, Re-use, Recycle) will be conducted on January 14, which will be participated in by the DENR-EMB central and regional offices, National Solid Waste Management Commission, and local government units (LGUs).

Topics will include backyard and home composting, home recycling, and upcycling.

On January 17, another webinar will be conducted on the "Introduction to an Ecological and Sustainable Lifestyle," and on January 21, on "Knowing More About Alternative Packaging."

The ceremonial turnover of yellow trash bins for healthcare wastes, signing of the memorandum of agreement and deed of donation for solid waste management equipment, and the awarding of 143 LGUs with best practices on solid waste management will also be conducted per region starting February.

The culmination activity will be held on February 2 to celebrate the anniversary of the signing of RA 9003.

As part of the celebration on February 2, the DENR will also be launching the Twelve Comics on Solid Waste Management by the DENR-SCIS and the Photo Story and Video Contest on Solid Waste Management by the DENR-Task Force Tayo ang Kalikasan.

Likewise, on March 25, the DENR will re-launch a campaign called "Basura-Free Election 2022."

DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and LGUs Concerns Benny D. Antiporda said the activities will also serve as a "wake-up call for the legislators to amend the two-decade-old law on solid waste management."

"We have always emphasized that solid waste is the last and the least when it comes to any list of priorities," Antiporda said.

"Hopefully, with these activities, we can remind the legislators about the importance of amending RA 9003 for stricter penalties for violators, so that once and for all, hindi na last ang solid waste," he added. ###