Government-wide Performance Audit Report on
Solid waste, according to internationally accepted definition, is non-liquid waste material arising from domestic trade, commercial, industrial and mining activities. It also includes waste arising from the conduct of public services such as street sweeping, landscape maintenance, and the clearing of debris brought about by typhoons.
Solid waste management (SWM) on the other hand, refers to an integrated approach of controlling the generation, as well as managing the storage, collection, transfer and transport, processing and disposal of solid wastes in a manner that is in accord with the best principles of public health, economics, engineering, conservation, aesthetics, and other environmental considerations, which is responsive to public needs.
The SWM system has six elements: waste generation, transfer, recovery/processing, storage, collection and disposal. The audit focused on SWM collection which is critical among the six mentioned elements. If not given careful consideration, collection can become the most expensive of the functions of the SWM. The uncollected solid wastes piling up in the streets of commercial and residential areas of Metro Manila has been the subject of media criticism in reports.
Under RA 7160 (Local Government Code of 1991), cities/municipalities and barangays have the primary responsibility over the collection of solid wastes. The government, in its efforts to introduce improvements in the present system of SWM, enacted Republic Act No. 9003 (Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000). It provides for an ecological SWM program, creation of the necessary institutional mechanism and incentives and declares certain acts prohibited with corresponding penalties.
The audit covered 10 cities within Metro Manila including the City of Valenzuela. The City is a bustling highly urbanized place with diverse economic potentials and people from all walks of life. Some are living on flooded areas, others on hilly places and others on plains. The City is composed of 32 barangays with land area of 4,459.40 hectares and a population of 541,059 and 561,890 in CYs 2001 and 2002, respectively. Based on the City’s Ecological Solid Waste Management Plan as of 2001, only 60% of this wastes is collected, hauled and dumped in Lingunan controlled dumpsite. About 5% is retrieved and recycled and the remaining 35% is strewn everywhere littering the City.
The non-biodegradable wastes are composed of plastic, tetra pack, styrofoam and rubber equivalent to 50%. The biodegradable wastes are composed of 70% food wastes, 20% plant wastes and 10% animal wastes.
The City has factories and industries that need almost all kinds of wastes generated as their raw materials in manufacturing their products. There are about 30 small and big junkshops that buy paper, plastic, metals, bottles, cartons, cans and other recyclable materials and 20 schools where pupils use recyclable materials as their school projects. Some biodegradable wastes find their ways to composting centers to be processed as fertilizer.
The City shifted from contracting collection of wastes to administration of SWM operations in 1997 due to incidence of uncollected solid wastes and the increasing cost of hauling. SWM is being managed by the Clean and Green Office (CGO) and Solid Waste Management Office (SWMO) supported by 167 and 170 staff, respectively, or a total of 337.
The CGO is in-charge of implementing the 10-year Ecological Solid Waste Management Plan (ESWMP) which was started on January 16, 1999. The objective of ESWM was to gradually phase-out the old systems of collection, transport and disposal of solid wastes and phase-in the new system of segregation, collection, transfer, storage and utilization of solid wastes. Towards these ends, there will be gradual transfer of collection, transport and disposal of recyclables and biodegradable wastes from the City Government to the barangays. At present the CGO is operating and maintaining the City’s Ecological Learning Center (ELC) with six barangays under its management.
On the other hand, the SWMO is in-charge of disposing solid wastes in areas/barangays not yet covered by the CGO.
The appropriation of CGO and SWMO for CYs 2001 and 2002 follow:
To ensure proper administration of SWM function, the City set the following mission:
The said mission is in line with the City’s vision:
The objective of the government wide audit was to determine whether the LGUs had undertaken its SWM function in the most efficient and economical manner giving consideration to solid wastes generation, selection of contractors and monitoring of contractors’ performance.
The City’s SWM function was undertaken by administration and not by contracting and therefore not within the bound of the audit objective. However, since this is a government wide audit, the audit was pursued for comparison with LGUs undertaking the SWM function by contract either on a clean-up or per trip basis. For this reason, the evaluation was focused on the performance of CGO and SWMO.
AUDIT SCOPE AND METHODOLOGY
The audit covered the operation of the CGO and SWMO for the period January 1, 2001 to June 30, 2002. It was intended to determine whether CGO and SWMO have conducted SWM operation economically, efficiently and effectively. As such, the performance of the said offices was evaluated using the following criteria:
The team performed the following procedures during the audit:
The audit was conducted from September 9 to September 20, 2002 pursuant to COA Assignment Order No. 2002-021 dated July 18, 2002.
Generally, the City has not efficiently carried out its SWM function through proper collection system and monitoring the effectiveness of such system. As reflected in the City’s Ecological Solid Waste Management Plan (ESWMP), about 35% of daily solid wastes generation are thrown everywhere within the City. This condition may be due to absence of adequate policies and guidelines in the collection system.
Moreover, the implementation of the existing system was not properly monitored due to absence of adequate performance system including performance indicators/standards to gauge the effectiveness of the system.
The team also noted that the City has yet to establish a standard calculation method on estimating solid waste generation from all sources. In CYs 2001 and 2002, the City’s estimates are very much lower than the reported actual generation. The inaccuracies in calculation greatly affect the funding requirements.
The less-than-satisfactory performance of the City can also be attributed to its failure to establish SWM Board to oversee and evaluate the implementation of SWM operations. The team however noted that the City of Valenzuela is the only City that has formulated a 10-year ESWMP and has put up an Ecology Learning Center. Although the implementation of the ESWMP was behind schedule, the City’s accomplishment on this aspect is already commendable.
As SWM is a continuing activity of the City and mishandling of this function would have a great impact on the environment and health of the citizens , the City should seriously consider addressing these concerns.
MANAGEMENT’S REACTIONS TO THE AUDIT OBSERVATIONS
The results of audit were discussed with the City Officials in an exit conference held on November 14, 2002. Their comments/justifications were incorporated in the report where appropriate.