Green groups ask new administration for action on waste management issues

Representatives of different NGOs imitate President Rodrigo Duterte’s hand gesture during the Wage War on Waste Press Conference on September 27, 2016 in Quezon City where they enumerated various waste problems in the Philippines. BAN Toxics, a member of the Green Thumb Coalition, calls upon the Duterte Administration to look into the environmental waste pollution issue in the country, particularly the Canada waste that has been in the Philippines since 2013. © BAN Toxics

27 September 2016, Quezon CityBAN Toxics joined other green groups in urging President Rodrigo Duterte to wage a “War on Waste.” During a press conference, the groups called for the government to pursue the establishment of policies that protect the environment from wastes and pollutants thereby ensuring the good health and quality of life of Filipinos.

The groups recalled that last April 18, in response to GTC’s pre-election questions, then presidential aspirant Mr Duterte wrote: “these (survey responses) will be translated into a program of action with specific activities implemented and/or initiatives started in the first six months of the Duterte administration.”

September 27 marks President Duterte’s third month in office. At this point however, the groups noted that the country’s most pressing waste issues – such as solid waste and plastics pollution, thermal waste-to-energy facilities, pollution prevention, electronic waste and the Canada waste issue – do not seem to be considered as main priorities by the administration.

These groups are now calling for a regime that prioritizes ecological and just pollution prevention and reduction to protect public health and the environment. BAN Toxics, EcoWaste Coalition, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Greenpeace and Health Care Without Harm have made these calls as representatives of the waste cluster of the Green Thumb Coalition (GTC), a broad alliance of Philippine environmental NGOs.

It is the hope of the Green Thumb Coalition that President Duterte and Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Gina Lopez prioritize these issues on pollution and pursue a “War on Waste.”