By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Monday expressed dismay over the tons of garbage left behind at Rizal Park on Christmas Day.
“The mountain of garbage collected at Rizal Park after Christmas reflects not only the lack of discipline among Filipinos, but also our attitude of indifference to solid waste management issues and the environment in general,” DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units Concerns Benny Antiporda said.
The National Parks Development Committee (NPDC) reported that around 50 metric tons of trash had been collected at the Rizal Park between late afternoon of December 25 and morning of December 26.
It can be recalled that, with still a few days before Christmas, DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu had already appealed to the public to help lessen the impact of the holiday season by keeping into mind the basics of solid waste management that is to reduce, reuse and recycle.
Antiporda reminded the public to “observe proper waste management at all times.”
“Every park goer should feel personally responsible for packing out the trash he brings in and dispose it properly,” he said.
The DENR official also underscored the need for local government units (LGUs) to step up their implementation of Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, which prohibits littering, throwing and dumping of waste matter in public places and establishments, including parks, or causing or permitting the same.
“If necessary, LGUs should not hesitate penalizing litterbugs by imposing fines or making them render community service,” Antiporda said.
“Even if we have garbage collectors, street sweepers, volunteers and other stakeholders helping us, all our efforts for the environment will come to naught if the mindset of Filipinos is, there is always someone who will clean up after them,” he pointed out.
He noted that the perennial garbage problem will never be resolved “if Filipinos do not do their share by simply minding their own trash and practice proper solid waste management everywhere they go.”