Republic Act No. 9003, An Act Providing for an Ecological Solid Waste Management Program, Creating the Necessary Institutional Mechanisms and Incentives, Declaring Certain Acts Prohibited and Providing Penalties, Appropriating Funds therefor, and for other Purposes, otherwise known as the “Philippine Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000” is the country’s legislation to address solid waste issues. It was approved on January 26, 2001 while its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) was published on December 20, 2001 through the Department Administrative Order (DAO) No. 2001-34. The law aims to enforce a systematic, comprehensive, and ecological solid waste management program to ensure the protection of public health and the environment. It also encourages the participation of the private sector in solid waste management. 

The Ecological Solid Waste Management provides for the guidelines in segregating, collecting, transporting, storing, treating, and disposing of solid waste by applying the best environmental practice in ecological waste management, excluding incineration. Along with these are regulations and penalties set by the DENR. Among the department’s priority activities for solid waste management are the closure of dumpsites and the establishment of material recovery facilities (MRFs). 


Institutional Structures and Mechanisms

R.A. 9003 provides for the establishment of a National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) which is tasked to oversee the implementation of the solid waste management plans and prescribes policies so that the objectives of the Act may be achieved. Fourteen (14) of its members come from the government sector while three (3) members come from the private sector. To further decentralize the execution of the plan, Provincial, City, and Municipal Solid Waste Management Boards are set up to develop location-specific plans and to directly implement them. 

National and Regional Ecology Centers are expected to provide technical expertise, information, training, and networking services to Local Government Units (LGUs) in their implementation of the plan. Licenses and permits to construct or operate any Solid Waste Management (SWM) facility should be obtained from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.  


Comprehensive Solid Waste Management System

As briefly stated, the LGUs are primarily responsible for the implementation and enforcement of the provisions of the SWM system within their respective jurisdictions. Further, the barangay is tasked with waste segregation and collection of biodegradable or compostable and reusable or recyclable wastes. Meanwhile, the city or municipality is in charge of collecting and disposing of the non-recyclable or non-recoverable materials and special wastes. 


Table 1. Minimum requirements and guidelines for different areas covered by SWM

Area Minimum requirements and guidelines
Segregation at source and Volume Reduction
  1. Segregation of wastes is conducted at the source
  2. Separate containers for each type of waste, properly marked or identified as “composable, “non-recyclable”, “recyclable,” or “special waste.” (For bulky waste, it should be collected and placed in a separate container in designated areas.)
  3. For premises containing six (6) or more residential units and all commercial, institutional, and industrial establishments, the owner or person in charge of such premises are required by LGU ordinance and regulations to:
    1. Provide a designated area and containers in which to accumulate source separated recyclable materials to be collected by the barangay or private collector
    2. Notify the occupants of the requirements and regulations 
    3. No scavenging or unauthorized collection in designated segregation containers or areas shall be allowed 
Collection, Transport, and Handling of Solid Wastes
  1. All collectors and other personnel directly dealing with collection on solid waste shall be equipped with personal protective equipment (e.g. gloves, masks, and safety boots), to protect them from the hazards of handling solid wastes.
  2. City or Municipal Health Officers shall provide necessary training to the collectors and personnel to ensure that that the solid wastes are handled properly 
  3. Collection of solid waste shall be done in a manner that prevents damage to the container and spillage or scattering of solid waste within the collection vicinity.
  4. The equipment used should be constructed, operated, and maintained in good condition and kept clean to minimize health and safety hazards to solid waste management personnel and the public.
  5. Separate collection schedules and/or separate trucks or haulers shall be required for specific types of wastes. Otherwise, vehicles used for the collection and transport of solid wastes shall have the appropriate compartments to store sorted wastes while in transit. The waste compartment shall have a cover to ensure the containment of solid wastes while in transit.
  6. For the purpose of identification, vehicles shall bear the body number, the name, and telephone number of the contractor/agency collecting solid waste
Establishing and Operating Transfer Stations
  1. Leachate and Drainage Control – Facilities shall be designed such that waste shall not come into contact with run-off and to prevent the generation of leachate
  2. Provisions for vector, odor, litter and dust control shall be included.
  3. The siting of the transfer station shall consider the land use plan, proximity of collection area, and accessibility of haul routes to disposal facility. 
  4. The following records shall be kept, maintained, and shall be submitted to the DENR upon request:
    1. Record of daily weights or volumes of waste received and transferred accurate to within ten percent (10%) and adequate for overall planning purposes and tracking of waste volumes
    2. Daily logbook or file of the following information shall be maintained: fires, special occurrences, unauthorized loads, injury and property damage
  5. Waste shall be removed from the transfer station within twenty-four (24) hours of its receipt
Materials Recovery Facility
  1. MRFs will be established in every barangay or cluster of barangays in a barangay-owned or leased land or any suitable open space.
  2. The MRF shall receive biodegradable wastes for composting and mixed non-biodegradable wastes for final segregation, re-use, and recycling. The residual wastes will be transferred to a long-term storage or disposal facility or sanitary landfill. 
Operating Composting Facilities 
  1. Compost quality – Organic fertilizers derived from compost and intended to be distributed commercially shall conform with the standards for organic fertilizers set by the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority of the Department of Agriculture, compost products intended for commercial or non-commercial distribution shall be free from hazardous/toxic constituent above permissible levels, and shall be tested for such constituents using the Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP) test method.
  2. The Facility shall not be sited in areas subject to frequent flooding, unless engineering controls are provided in the design to prevent inundation of the facility.
  3. Leachate and Drainage Control –
    1. Facilities shall be designed such that compost piles, windrows, residues and processed material will not come in contact with surface storm run-off. 
    2. Where excess leachate storage is provided, discharge of leachate into any body of water is prohibited unless such discharge meets the limits prescribed by the DENR standards for effluents. 
    3. Provisions for vector, odor, litter and dust control shall be included.
    4. Records keeping shall be maintained at all times.
    5. Residues shall be managed as solid waste and shall be disposed of as such.
    6. Temperatures of compost piles, curing piles and processed composts shall be maintained in safe levels to prevent spontaneous combustion.
    7. Aerobic conditions shall be maintained to prevent creation of dangerous gases such as methane.
Recycling Program (Eco-labelling)
  1. Eco-labelling
    1. Abide by the coding system for packaging materials and products to facilitate waste recycling and re-use based on ISO standard 14024. 
    2. The eco-label shall include simple, accurate, non-deceptive and scientifically based information on the key environmental aspects which are considered in the award of the label in order to enable consumers to make informed choices.
  2. Non-environmentally acceptable products 
    1. Plastic soft drink straws and coffee stirrers (NSWMC Resolution No. 1428)
  3. Reclamation Programs and Buy-back centers
    1. Separate collection systems or convenient drop-off locations for recyclable materials and separated toxic components (e.g. dry cell batteries and tires) to ensure that they are not incinerated or disposed of in landfill.
Operation of Controlled Dumpsites
  1. No open dumpsites shall be established and operated.
  2. Daily cover consisting of inert materials, soil, or other alternative materials of at least 6 inches in thickness shall be applied at the end of the working day.
  3. Drainage and runoff control shall be designed and managed such that storm water does not come in contact with waste and that discharge of sediments into the receiving body of water is minimized. Appropriate erosion protection shall be installed at storm discharge outfalls.
  4. Provision for aerobic and anaerobic decomposition shall be instituted to control odor.
  5. Working areas shall be minimized and kept at no more than a ratio of 1.5 square meter (sqm) or less per ton/day (tpd) of waste received on a daily basis, e.g. 30 sqm working area for a 20 tpd facility.
  6. Security fencing shall be provided to prevent illegal entries, trespassing and large animal entries (e.g. dogs, cats, cattle, pigs, carabaos and horses). Provisions for litter control including the use of litter fences and daily picking of litter shall be included.
  7. Basic record keeping including volume of waste received daily, special occurrences such as fires, accidents, spills, unauthorized and rejected loads, and daily waste inspection logs.
  8. Provision of maintained all-weather access roads.
  9. Controlled waste picking and trading, if allowed by owner/operator.
  10. Provision of at least 0.60 m final soil cover at closure, and post-closure maintenance of cover, drainage and vegetation; Post-closure maintenance shall be for a period of ten (10) years.
  11. Site shall not be located in flood plains and areas subject to periodic flooding and it shall be hydro-geologically suitable, i.e., adequate separation or clearance between waste and underlying groundwater and any surface body of water shall be provided. Engineering controls shall be provided otherwise.
Sanitary Landfills
  1. The location of the facility shall be consistent with the overall land use plan of the LGU and accessible.
  2. The site shall have an adequate quantity of earth cover material that is easily handled and compacted.
  3. If the site is located within two (2) kilometers of an airport runway, it shall not pose a bird hazard to aircraft. 
  4. Locations of public water supply intakes located within one (1) kilometer from the facility, including active public drinking water supply wells, shall be shown on a facility map.
  5. The facility shall not be constructed within 75 meters from a Holocene fault or known recent active fault.
  6. If significant archaeological and cultural resources are present at the site, such resources shall be protected and preserved.
  7. If the site is a habitat of listed endangered species, mitigation measures for protection of the species as required by applicable laws shall be included in the project proposal.
  8. The site shall be chosen with regard to the sensitivities of the community’s residents. 
  9. For landfills located in sensitive resources areas, landfills shall be provided with a base liner system consisting of clay and/or geosynthetic membranes (geomembrane), following its prescribed thickness. 
  10. Leachate collection and removal systems shall be provided and designed such that leachate buildup in the landfill will be minimized. For design purposes, an allowable leachate level of not more than 0.60 meter over the liner system shall be maintained. If leachate is discharged to a receiving body of water, the discharge shall meet effluent discharge and water quality criteria prescribed by DENR.
  11. Leachate storage facilities shall be designed with containment systems to prevent leachate from spillage and its migration into underlying groundwater or nearby surface body of water. For leachate impoundment ponds, the design shall include a geomembrane liner system, underlain by a low permeability soil layer of at least 0.30 m thick. 
  12. The site shall be located in an area where the landfill’s operation will not detrimentally affect environmentally sensitive resources such as aquifers, groundwater reservoir or watershed area. Additional criteria and special mitigation measures are to be followed as well*
  13. The design of the landfill shall be statistically stable and shall be able to withstand the effects of a ground acceleration generated by an earthquake of 100-year or more recurrence interval.
  14. A separation of at least two (2.0) meters shall be maintained between the top of the liner system and underlying groundwater.
  15. A temporary impoundment for drainage runoff shall be provided with a detention time sufficient for sediment removal and/or reduction, prior to its discharge.
  16. The site shall be large enough to accommodate the community’s waste for a period of five (5) years or more.
  17. Designation of a separate containment area for household hazardous wastes.
  18. A gas control system shall be provided when the volume of waste in the landfill has reached 0.5 million metric tons.
  19. Groundwater monitoring wells shall be placed at appropriate locations and depth for taking water samples that are representative of groundwater quality and for predicting groundwater flow.
  20. Cover shall consist of a daily soil cover at least 6 inches in thickness applied at the end of each workday. 
  21. Closure of the landfill shall be completed within one year of cessation of landfill operation.
  22. Post-closure care shall be for a period of fifteen (15) years. DENR shall establish post-closure guidelines and requirements for financial assurance mechanisms within one year.
  23. All technical reports, technical documents, plans and specifications pertaining to the engineering of the facility shall be certified and sealed by a licensed Engineer with relevant experience and expertise.
  24. Disposal site records of, but not limited to:
    1. Records of weights or volumes accepted in a form and manner approved by the Department. Such records shall be submitted to the Department upon request, accurate to within ten percent (10%) and adequate for overall planning purposes and forecasting the rate of site filling;
    2. Records of excavations which may affect the safe and proper operation of the site or cause damage to adjoining properties;
    3. Daily logbook or file of the following information: fire, landslides, earthquake damage, unusual and sudden settlement, injury and property damage, accidents, explosions, receipt or rejection of non-permitted wastes, flooding and other unusual occurrences
    4. Record of personnel training; 
    5. Copy of written notification to the Department, local health agency, and fire authority of names, addresses and telephone numbers of the operator or responsible party of the site.
  25. Water quality monitoring of surface and ground waters and effluent, and gas emissions shall be performed in frequencies prescribed by the Department on a project by project basis.
  26. Signs:
    1. Each point of access from a public road shall be posted with an easily visible sign indicating the facility name and other pertinent information.
    2. If the site is open to the public, there shall be an easily visible sign at the primary entrance of the site indicating the name of the site operator, the operator’s telephone number and hours of operation; and easily visible sign at an appropriate point shall indicate the schedule of charges and the general types of materials which will be accepted or not; there shall be an easily visible road sign and/or traffic control measures which direct traffic to the active face and other areas where wastes or recyclable materials will be deposited;
  27. Areas within the site where open storage or ponding of hazardous materials occurs shall be separately fenced or otherwise secured.
  28. Roads within the permitted facility boundary shall be designed to minimize the generation of dust and the tracking of materials onto adjacent public roads. Such roads shall be kept in safe condition and maintained such that vehicle access and unloading can be conducted during inclement weather.
  29. Sanitary facilities consisting of adequate number of toilets and handwashing facilities shall be available to personnel at or in the immediate vicinity of the site.
  30. Safe and adequate drinking water supply for the site personnel shall be available.
  31. The site shall have communication facilities available to site personnel to allow quick response to emergencies.
  32. Where operations are conducted during hours of darkness, the site and/or equipment shall be equipped with adequate lighting as approved by the Department to ensure safety and to monitor the effectiveness of operations.
  33. Operating and maintenance personnel shall wear and use appropriate safety equipment as required by the Department.
  34. Personnel assigned to operate the site shall be adequately trained in subject pertinent to the site operation and maintenance, hazardous materials recognition and screening and heavy equipment operations, with emphasis on safety, health, environmental controls and emergency procedures. A record of such training shall be placed in the operating record.
  35. The site operator shall provide adequate supervision of a sufficient number of qualified personnel to ensure proper operation of the site in compliance with all applicable laws, regulations, permit conditions and other requirements. 
  36. Any disposal site open to the public shall have an attendant present during public operating hours or the site shall be inspected by the operator on a regularly scheduled basis.
  37. Solid waste shall be spread and compacted in layers with repeated passages of the landfill equipment to minimize voids within the cell and maximize compaction.
  38. Covered surfaces of the disposal area shall be graded to promote lateral runoff of precipitation and to prevent ponding. 
  39. Cover material or native material unsuitable for cover, stockpiled on the site for use or removal, shall be placed so as not to cause problems or interfere with unloading, spreading, compacting, access, safety, drainage or other operations.


Solid Waste Management Financing

A National and Local SWM Fund is established to aid LGUs in financing their SWM related projects and activities. Examples would be products, facilities, technologies and processes to enhance proper solid waste management; awards; incentives; research programs; information, education, communication and monitoring activities; technical assistance; and capability building activities. The fund is sourced from donations, grants, and contributions, from amounts appropriated from the General Appropriations Act, and from fines and fees collected. Among the activities that the fund can be used for are 



To encourage LGUs, enterprises, private sector, and civil society to actively participate in the efficient and effective implementation of SWM, incentives are provided. These incentives may be in the form of rewards, grants, fiscal incentives (i.e. tax exemptions), non-fiscal incentives (i.e. simplified bureaucratic procedures and reduced paper requirements), and contractual arrangements with the private sector. 


Prohibited Acts, Fines, and Penalties

Specific Violations Fines Penalties
#1 Littering, throwing, dumping of waste matters in public places (e.g. roads, sidewalks, canals, esteros, or parks) and causing or permitting the same Payment in the amounts not less than Three hundred pesos (P300.000) but not more than One thousand pesos (P1,000.00) or  Rendering of community service for not less than one (1) day to not more than fifteen (15) days in the LGU where such prohibited acts are committed or both
#2 Undertaking activities or operating, collecting or transporting equipment in violation of sanitation operation and other requirements or permits 

#3 The open burning of solid waste

Payment in the amounts not less than Three hundred pesos (P300.000) but not more than One thousand pesos (P1,000.00) or  Imprisonment of not less than one (1) day to not more than fifteen (15) days or both
#4 Causing or permitting the collection of nonsegregated or unsorted waste 

#5 Squatting in open dumps and landfills

#6 Open dumping, burying of biodegradable or non-biodegradable materials in flood-prone areas 

#7 Unauthorized removal of recyclable material intended for collection by authorized persons

Payment in the amounts not less than One thousand pesos (P1,000.00) but not more than Three thousand pesos (P3,000.00) or Imprisonment of not less than fifteen (15) days to not more than six (6) months or both
#8 The mixing of source-separated recyclable material with other solid waste in any vehicle, box, container or receptacle used in solid waste collection or disposal 

#9 Establishment or operation of open dumps 

#10 The manufacture, distribution or use of non-environmentally acceptable packaging materials 

#11 Importation of consumer products packaged in non-environmentally acceptable materials

For the first time, shall pay a fine of Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00) plus an amount not less than five percent (5%) but not more than ten percent (10%) of his net annual income during the previous year The additional penalty of imprisonment of a minimum period of one (1) year, but not to exceed three (3) years at the discretion of the court, shall be imposed for second or subsequent violations for #9 and #10
#12 Importation of toxic wastes misrepresented as “recyclable” or “with recyclable content” 

#13 Transport and dumping in bulk of collected domestic, industrial, commercial and institutional wastes in areas other than centers of facilities

Payment in the amounts not less than Ten thousand pesos (P10,000.00) but not more than Two hundred thousand pesos (P200,000.00) or Imprisonment of not less than thirty (30) days but not more than three (3) years, or both
#14 Site preparation, construction, expansion or operation of waste management facilities without an Environmental Compliance Certificate and not conforming with the land use plan of the LGU

#15 The construction of any establishment within two hundred (200) meters from open dump or controlled dumps or sanitary landfills

#16 The construction or operation of landfills or any waste disposal facility on any aquifer, groundwater reservoir or watershed area and/or any portion thereof.

Payment in the amounts not less than One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) but not more than One million pesos (P1,000,000.00) or Imprisonment of not less than one (1) year but not more than six (6) years, or both


Contributor: Marivic Arago
Brown & Green Environmental Services, Inc.