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Editorial | SOCA: On solid waste and environment

The State of the City Address (SOCA) is one of the speeches delivered every year by the city mayor to the city council, department heads, security sector, business sector, diplomatic corps and other invited members of the civil society. It is done to present the mayor’s policy directions and legislative proposals for the coming year.

Yesterday, Mayor Sara Duterte delivered her SOCA, outlining what her administration has done in the past three years with Byaheng DO30 as platform. There was quite a number of items that have been achieved listed in the 30 projects, which ranged from education, security, infrastructure, health and the environment.

We take a special look at the solid waste management of the city. The Ecological Solid Waste Management Act is implemented by the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO). The city has seen such huge infrastructure and economic development in the past years, residential and commercial establishments have mushroomed which requires vital services such as power and water. What is getting attention is solid waste management which many fear will be untenable in the next years if nothing is done to address the pile of garbage that are not collected.

A collection manager was hired by the city to oversee the daily collection and be on top of the garbage problem, so to speak. There is also a plan to intensify education at the barangay level to create cleaner and greener villages, as well as a plan to build a waste-to-energy facility.

We have always pushed for segregation at source and for limiting the use of single use plastics, especially sachets which we so love to buy. If we lessen our use of plastic, this will have a domino effect on our solid waste cycle. There will be less trash to be collected and the biodegradable wastes can be used to fertilize a community garden. It takes the creativity of the local government units to recycle, reuse and repurpose garbage. Landfills are not sustainable and plastic recycling facilities do need more resources like water and power.

Be that as it may, we hope that CENRO, since they have the skills and resources, will work with the barangays to plan their particular form of action to address the garbage problem. Maybe together, they can come up with a creative more sustainable waste management system.

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