MANILA – As the observance of the Zero Waste Month wraps up this week, an environmental watchdog group urged the public to follow the notoriously ignored signage against garbage dumping.
The omnipresent reminder “Bawal Magtapon Dito,” lamented the EcoWaste Coalition, is the “most mistreated” public service notice that apathetic citizens choose to disregard along with the “no urinating,” “no smoking” and “no parking” signs.
“Despite the country’s 97.5% literacy rate, many Filipinos appear not to understand what ‘Bawal Magtapon Dito’ means,” observed Aileen Lucero, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.
“All over the metropolis, we find this reminder visibly written on plastic tarpaulins, wooden placards and even on the walls, but to no avail,” she complained.
“Even if the signboard explicitly mentions the penalty of up to Php1,000 for littering and open dumping violations, many still throw their discards in forbidden places like sidewalks, street corners and vacant lots,” she noted.
“The tendency to disobey such a simple regulation of not littering or dumping mirrors the sad state of our throw-away society and the need for improved environmental awareness and responsibility among our people,” she said.
Towards the enforcement of the anti-dumping provision of Republic Act No. 9003, the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, the EcoWaste Coalition urged citizens to use their e-gadgets to take photos of garbage heaps right on spots where the “Bawal Magtapon Dito” signs are posted, and to submit the photos to the offices of the barangay chairman and the mayor for action.
The group also appealed to each and every individual and household to prevent the generation of trash and to ecologically manage our discards to reduce their quantity, as well as toxicity.
“We urge everyone to be mindful of what you consume and what you throw away and please refrain from sending reusable and recyclable discards to the dumps. Reusables and recyclables should not end up in dumps and get wasted,” Lucero reminded.
As garbage is made by mixing discarded items, the EcoWaste Coalition stressed the need to sort discards at source to facilitate their reusing and recycling.
Avoiding the creation of trash and managing discards in an ecological manner will have tremendous benefits, the group emphasized.
These benefits include: reduced garbage volume and toxicity, lessened pollutant emissions, increased resource conservation, expanded recycling jobs and livelihoods, cleaner and greener communities, decreased trash spillage to the rivers and oceans, de-clogged waterways, healthier marine ecosystems, and, not to forget, huge savings due to avoided disposal expenses, as well as reduced flood mitigation costs.