By Marie Tonette Marticio
TACLOBAN CITY – The Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR) in Region 8 warned the public against burning household garbage, and agricultural or farm waste as it contributes to air pollution and is a health hazard.
Tirso Parian, Jr., Regional Director of DENR 8 said it may also result in a fire that may cause loss of lives and properties.
“With the health crisis due to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) the country is currently battling with and as a consequence, many cities and municipalities in the region are already in community quarantine, we do not want to aggravate the situation through accidental fires and health hazard that burning of waste results. Our Department is asking the understanding and cooperation of all,” Parian urged.
He noted that there have been reported cases of forest fires in some parts of the region that may have been ignited by open fire emanating from leaves being burned at backyards.
He also advised the public to adhere to the proper method of recycling and composting material.
The Ecological Solid Waste Management Act or Republic Act 9003 and R.A. 8749 or the Clean Air Act prohibit and penalize open burning defined “as the thermal destruction of waste by means of direct exposure to fire.”
Implementing rules of R. A. 8749 provides that “no person shall be allowed to burn any materials in any quantities which shall cause the emission of toxic and poisonous fumes. Such material includes but not limited to plastic,” among others.
Any violations will be meted by a fine of not less than P10 thousand but not more than P100 thousand or six years of imprisonment or both.
R.A. 9003 also prohibits the open burning of solid waste defined as “all discarded household, commercial waste, non-hazardous institutional and industrial waste, street sweepings, construction debris, agricultural waste, and other non-hazardous/non-toxic solid waste.”
A fine of not less than P300 but not more than P1,000 or imprisonment of not less than one day but not more than 15 days, or both await any violators.