“You have to deal with the reality that every one of us, every single day of our life we generate garbage, refuse,” said Neric Acosta, the author of two (2) milestone environmental laws in the Philippines in his keynote speech delivered during the launching of the Zero Waste Forum held at the L.S. Virata Hall, Development Academy of the Philippine’s Headquarters in Pasig City.
Acosta called for a paradigm shift, a change in perspective. “For mainstreaming green consciousness,” he said, “we have to see these as opportunities,” instead of as problems. Acosta notes that garbage can be recycled, reused, and recaptured by technology.
Acosta discussed what he called the 3 I’s necessary to change obstacles to opportunities when it comes to waste:
*Information – “We have to know exactly how much waste we produce, we generate, so that we will be able to know in terms of intervention, how much is recyclable. This is the “knowledge base from which systems of intervention can flow out of.”
*Innovations – The systems of intervention are the innovations, the range of technological mechanisms, approaches that can be taken to manage the waste. That includes the hardware (technologies) and software (management).
*Investments - These comprise “how much money we can put into these innovations.” Costs and returns.
But, Acosta said that while the 3 I’s are simple enough and doable even for local government units, the LGUs will not able to move a single ton of waste towards the proper management of it if there is no paradigm shift. “Is the Mayor green-minded?” he asked. “Does he understand that these are not only environmental issues but instead are fundamental issues that have to do with our very survival (on Planet Earth)?”
Even if the Mayor understands the law, the policy, Acosta said, if the Mayor does not have a green paradigm, if he does not understand that “economics ay kaakibat ng ecological imperatives” (literally, “allied with”), he is not going anywhere. You cannot have economics without ecology, he said. He recalled that when he was a Congressman defending the Clean Air Bill as principal sponsor, Congressman Joker Arroyo said something about solving the problem of jobs first before the problem of waste. Acosta answered back and said, “Aanhin naman po ang pera kung patay na ang ilog?” (what will happen with development if the river is dead?)
The Zero Waste Philippine Forum last October 7,2010 is the first in a series that will be held nationwide convened by Ruth P. Briones Chair of Greenergy Solutions Inc and the Office of Neric Acosta attended by representatives of local government units (cities, municipalities and provinces) nationwide. (Juris Nicholo Pascual Briones)