Year after year, around 15 million tons of wastes are generated in our country and with the current crisis brought by the pandemic today, it is believed to have tripled its numbers. Many of our masks, plastic gloves, and disposable personal protective equipment (PPE) end up in waterways, in the oceans, open seas and our LGUs still struggle to implement the provisions of Republic Act (RA) No. 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.
“With total lockdowns and the closure of majority of business establishments in the country to enforce physical distancing, there was a surge in demand for home delivery services of food and groceries, which has led to an increase in the generation of common packaging plastic wastes,” shared Joben Asuncion, Project Coordinator of PHINLA (Philippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka) Global Program. “Due to reduced recycling activities as a result of coronavirus outbreak, management and handling of plastic waste has become a huge challenge for the waste management particularly in our communities,” Asuncion added.
According to National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC)’s figures back in 2018, there are only more than 10,000 materials recovery facilities in the country catering to the more than 40,000 barangays in the Philippines and this calls for more proactive responses not only from the government but from all sectors.
“Education is the key to success and it opens opportunities, making it possible for each of us to contribute to a progressive, healthy and sustainable society. The effects are already visible and will be catastrophic unless we act now,” Asuncion further explained.
In helping to achieve this goal, World Vision Development Foundation and EcoWaste Coalition created PHINLA, a partnership project that carries out a series of advocacy campaigns to its household members, LGU officials, waste collectors, and students across the country as part of the project’s aim to assist LGUs and other stakeholders to improve waste management systems, livelihood opportunities to waste collectors, and raise the public awareness against proper waste management in the communities.
An online forum was held last April 22 in celebration of Earth Day 2021 with the theme, “Restore the Earth” to showcase how the LGUs of Quezon City, Cagayan de Oro City, and Davao City have responded to the challenge of managing solid wastes in this time of crisis.
Cugman Chairman Wendelyn Escobia shared that CDO LGU implemented the “no segregation, no collection” policy and has designated a segregation bin and material recovery facility for collected wastes. However, garbage collection in their village paused for a while during the implementation of community quarantine so the garbage piled up, and collection was made even more challenging because they were using only one mini dump truck to collect their wastes. LGU intensified its information then to drive solid waste segregation through house-to-house campaigns. An ordinance was also passed for the proper disposal of PPE and encouraged urban container gardening through the help of the bio shredder donated by PHINLA.
“Through the help of PHINLA, our waste collectors in Cugman no longer spend a lot of time segregating wastes because it’s being done already in the household level. The pedicabs and motorbikes donated by PHINLA also made their jobs easier,” Escobia shared.
Several activities are being done to manage the city’s solid wastes, including weekly cleanup drive, tree planting activities, and declogging operations in Quezon City. Barangay Bagong Silangan, Quezon City Chairman Wilfredo Cara said “I would like to thank World Vision, EcoWaste Coalition, and PHINLA for the assistance they provide to our barangay especially in this time of pandemic.” With the program, they received waste collection vehicles, face masks, gloves, and other protective equipment for their waste collectors.
Meanwhile, Chairman Rey Amador Bargamento of Barangay Mintal, Davao City shared that as early as 2013, they have already been intentional in intensifying segregation. There was high compliance and logistic limitations were eminent as they do not have clear collection schedule and had only one mini dump truck for 23 areas.
“When we started, we were lacking knowledge, equipment, and personnel. That’s why we are grateful that PHINLA partnered with us. We had training activities already. We have the tools that we need. Our partnership with PHINLA helps us in making segregation at source an ultimate goal in Barangay Mintal. It makes our dream for a clean branagay closer to reality,” said Chairman Bargamento.
PHINLA is set to carry out series of training activities for waste collectors, LGUs household members, and students this year. More units of pedicabs and motorbikes will also be donated to its partner LGUs.