Protecting our Environment Starts with Us
Written by: Princess Alwin See
UTROS in Philippines Inc.
Proper waste disposal is important as certain types of wastes can be harmful to the environment if not handled properly. Improper disposal of hazardous wastes can pollute soil, water, and air, which can lead to problems with both environment and human health.
According to Republic Act (RA) 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, “Solid waste management describes as a discipline associated with the control of generation, storage, collection, transfer and transport, processing, and disposal of solid wastes. RA 9003 declares the policy of the state in adopting a systematic, comprehensive and ecological solid waste management program that ensures the protection of public health and the environment and the proper segregation, collection, transport, storage, treatment and disposal of solid waste through the formulation and adoption of best environmental practices. The Act provides for a comprehensive ecological solid waste management program by creating the necessary institutional mechanisms and incentives, appropriating funds, declaring certain acts prohibited, and providing penalties.”
Following rules and regulations help us to be aware and attentive to our simple habits in our everyday lives. If we have the right knowledge, the right attitude to follow, waste will be safely discarded without the risk of environmental contamination. Burning the wrong forms of waste can release greenhouse gas emissions. Polluted air increases the risk of respiratory disease. Dumping of industrial waste and deforestation, which causes sediments and bacteria to appear under the soil contaminates the groundwater thus causing water-related illness.
According to Cornell Waste Management Institute, “Composting accomplishes the three R’s: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. Through composting, the amount of waste sent to the landfill is reduced, the organic material is reused rather than discarded, and is recycled into a useful soil amendment. Natural ecosystems have a proven method of breaking down organic materials into a useful end product: the decomposes found within the food chain break down nature’s organic waste and turn it into humus, the organic component of soil. Composting is a way of connecting the natural process of decomposition to speed up the decay of waste.”
Recycling has many benefits in our environment. It reduces energy consumption, reduces global warming, conserve natural resources, and reduces the amount of waste to landfills. Recycling has always been a campaign in different schools and organizations as it calls out people of every age to participate even in small ways to help our environment. Some institutions even held fashion shows using recyclable materials, or student projects such as fans, bags, and decorations. Some families even made a business from it. They sell merchandise with Eco-friendly materials and organic ingredients. It helps people to be more creative and innovative, without compromising the quality of the final product.
In accordance to United States Environmental Protection Agency, “In 2017, the recycling, composting, combustion with energy recovery and land filling of MSW saved over 184 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MMTCO 2 E). This is comparable to the emissions that could be reduced from taking over 39 million cars off the road in a year. Paper and paperboard recycling, at about 44.2 million tons, resulted in the largest portion of the total MSW reduction of about 148 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. This reduction is equivalent to removing over 31 million cars from the road for one year.”
As we let go of our daily waste, small mistakes, intentional or not, can cause harm to other people in the future. We can stop litter before it happens by holding onto the trash until finding a bin to dispose of it properly. One wrap of plastic candy can clog a small water path. Plastic bottles from every beverage we drink can take 450 years to biodegrade.
It is not just about throwing garbage in a trash can or sweeping away bags of dust and litter. It does not finish there. For effective waste disposal, segregation is the key. Proper classification and disposal of each waste help to prevent additional pollution which can improve community health.
Imagine an environment where we would enjoy breathing the fresh air, drinking clean and safe water, walking into decent roads, planting and harvesting in healthy lands with our loved ones. We will not live worrying about different kinds of risks brought by pollution. We can see one another moving at ease. We can maximize the environmental benefits that God originally planned for us to enjoy and live with comfort.
It is the utmost of all faults to do nothing because you think you can only do little. Do everything you can. Share what you learn and teach others. Pass the knowledge and more people will have an opportunity to pass it to the public. We are empowered to make a positive change in our surroundings. Be earth-friendly and make a difference. For it is us to whom this world belongs.
Albert P. Aquino, Jamaica Angelica P. Deriquito, and Meliza A. Festejo, Philippine Point Person to the FFTC Project on Asia-Pacific Information Platform in
Agricultural Policy and Director, Science Research Specialist, and Science Research Analyst, respectively of the Socio-Economics Research Division-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (SERD-PCAARRD) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Los Baños, Laguna, the Philippines.
Cornell Waste Management Institute © 1996
Dept. of Crop and Soil Sciences
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