Cases of African Swine Flu (ASF) continues to soar in the past months in the country, putting challenges not just to food security but also to the implementation of the Ecological Solid Waste Management or Republic Act 9003.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) has conducted a study/analysis and determined that one of the causes of the ASF in the country is the improper disposal of food wastes which are being reused in piggeries, feeding it to livestock or pigs.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said that it is the responsibility of all local government units to see to it that all wastes, including biodegradables and food wastes, be properly disposed.

Thus, he directed all DENR regional offices and EMB regional offices to issue an advisory to all local government units on the need to strictly comply with the provisions of RA 9003 by properly addressing both residual and biodegradable wastes in their area of jurisdictions, where food waste collection should be done by the local government units.

Secretary Cimatu also emphasized that the direct collection of food wastes by private individuals from food establishments should be strictly not allowed.

In line with this, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Philippines further heightened its post-marketing surveillance. Audit is being conducted on all concerned and covered establishments to ensure full compliance with the FDA order, at the same time, to hold violators liable under Republic Act 9711 (Food and Drug Administration Act of 2009), Republic Act 10611 (Food Safety Act of 2013) and other pertinent laws, all in the interest of protecting public health and safety.

The ASF is a viral disease that is contagious to animals but not in humans, has no treatment and vaccination, and no known cure, and could put the swine industry at risk, according to the Department of Agriculture.

The Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 is one of the major priority programs of Environmental Secretary Roy A. Cimatu, highlighting the proper solid waste disposal and management of the Materials Recovery Facility.