As we celebrate every January as Zero Waste Month, we start the year on a good note by affirming our commitment for proper waste segregation and embracing the three “R’s” of effective waste management mantra of reduce, reuse, and recycle, says Tirso P. Parian, Jr., Regional Executive Director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). He likewise hastens to add the slogan, “if we can’t reuse it, refuse it.”

This is a timely and appropriate call considering that no less than Secretary Roy Cimatu of the DENR has put on notice the garbage crisis that the capital city of Manila is now facing. The challenge to address the waste proliferation is not limited to Manila but all over the country because of the unrestrained disposal of waste and the ever-increasing dependence and utilization of plastics, particularly single-use plastic, among others.

Currently, based on published environmental studies, the Philippines is ranked as the 3rd highest source of ocean plastic pollution with an estimated 2.7 million metric tons of plastic waste and half a million metric tons of plastic waste leakage annually.

Because of this, RED Parian is exhorting the public to be active catalyst for attitude change towards proper and responsible utilization, segregation and disposal of our wastes. “Let us put to task to each and every one the shared responsibility to clean our environment. After all, this is not only for our generation but more importantly, for the generation yet unborn in their inherent right to have a livable environment.”

Every month of January is Zero-Waste Month, as declared by former President Benigno S. Aquino III through Proclamation No. 760 signed on May 2014. Zero waste is defined as the advocacy that promotes the managing of products toeliminate the volume and toxicity of waste and materials.