Villar pushes for extended producer responsibility on wastes

Villar pushes for extended producer responsibility on wastes

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA — Saying that the globe is in the middle of a climate
emergency, Senator Cynthia Villar cited the need to find the strategic
interventions to drastically redeem what would have been valuable
materials from the waste stream.

Villar, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Environment, Natural
Resources and Climate Change, has sponsored Senate Bill No. 2425,
under Committee Report No. 328 which refers to “An Act
Institutionalizing the Practice of Extended Producer Responsibility on
Plastic Packaging Waste. This would amend Republic Act No. 9003,
otherwise known as the “Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of
2000”.

“This measure seeks to incentivize innovation, motivate producers to
take charge of the life cycle of their products, clearly defines
responsibilities and mandates and allows for better citizen
participation in reaching objectives and goals,” stressed Villar.

If done properly, she said that Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)
is also an opportunity, an open door to a thriving industry that
pushes us into a circular economy where materials cycle through lives
and less land is lost to dumping and waste storage.

“We need to rescue our country from the ill repute of being a marine
litter culprit and demonstrate that a developing country can and will
make this work,” said the lady senator.

Without an EPR System, She said back trips of trucks and ferries will
not care to carry discards for reuse, recycling or processing.

Although those that make the products that become discards in very
short spans of time have always had the ethical responsibility, Villar
said they do not have the legal responsibility to ensure the
recyclability and upscalability of their products and packaging.

“The pandemic has both complicated and multiplied this problem
tenfold. Hence, this Chamber has the duty to act decisively and
effectively to pass a law that would have a high rate of compliance,”
emphasized Villar.

Around the world, she said, there is abundant evidence that EPRs have
allowed municipalities and taxpayers to deflect the financial burden
of waste management and transferred it to producers.

“More importantly, EPR systems have resulted in decreased volumes of
waste for final disposal and ushered in a thriving recycling industry.
And many of these companies.that succeeded also market their products
here and would likely have little difficulty in merely exporting their
success as they export their products and manufacturing.”

She recalled the July 10, 2000 Payatas landslide or the garbage dump
collapsed at Payatas, Quezon City which claimed the lives of 218
people.

“A gigantic mountain of garbage first collapsed and then went up in
flames which resulted in the destruction of about 100 houses of
informal settler families. No less than 218 people perished, not
including those unaccounted for in a massive collapse of a mountain of
discards. As if that was not enough, the methane emitting waste turned
into an inferno,” remembered Villar.

The senator related that it was a horrific reminder that our society
was an abject failure at managing our wastes so that the next year,
Congress passed the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.

But still, Villar stressed open dumpsites have remained operational.
Mixed wastes are being collected in urban areas. She said there is no
National Ecology Center and the burden of waste reduction, segregation
and management mostly fell into the lap of households and the local
governments.

She lamented our country has been notorious, named in several reports
as one of the top dischargers of marine plastics. A 2015 University of
Georgia study revealed that the Philippines, ranked third, next to
China and Indonesia (among 192 countries surveyed), in terms of volume
of plastic wastes produced by the population that goes into the ocean.

“And, six years hence from the conduct of that study, it seems that we
have not improved our ranking yet,” said Villar. (ai/mtvn)

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