World Vision : PHINLA Earth Day Forum 2021

It’s been a year since COVID-19 hit the Philippines,the pandemic continues to pose risks and challenges across many level of the society. Waste management is not exempted.

Safety became our top priority so we opt to use disposable products as an added layer of protection.

Approximately 15 million tons of wastes are generated in the Philippines each year, with that,we have been known as one of the world’s leading waste contributors.This figure doesn’t reflect the waste our country has generated during the pandemic.

Studies show that billions of plastic gloves,face masks, and disposable personal protective equipment (PPE) sets are being produced and used globally during this pandemic. Sad to say,many of these end up in waterways,oceans and open seas.

The waste management problems posed by COVID-19 beset LGUs, many of whom 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.

Based from National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC), in 2018, there are only more than 10,000 materials recovery facilities in the Philippines that caters 40,000 barangays. These challenges call for more proactive response not only from our government but from all sectors.

Waste management concerns require intensified education campaigns to raise awareness that each and everyone of us has a role in solving waste management problems.“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 explained.

In order to help achieve this goal, PHINLA, a partner project of World Vision Development Foundation and EcoWaste Coalition, carries out series of advocacy campaigns among household members, waste collectors, LGU officials, and students across our country as part of the project’s goal to assist LGUs and other stakeholders to improve waste management systems,more livelihood opportunities to waste collectors, and raise public’s active involvement  to address the waste problem in the communities.

“Through waste management education, innovation, and adherence to our commitments, we can make the necessary changes to protect our planet,” Asuncion added.

As part of its advocacy campaigns, PHINLA held an online forum during Earth Day to showcase how LGUs of Cagayan de Oro City,Davao City and Quezon City respond to the challenge of solid waste management that’s now aggravated by the pandemic.

In the said forum, Cugman, Cagayan de Oro Chairman Wendelyn Escobia shared that the LGU is implementing the "no segregation, no collection" policy and has designated a segregation bin and material recovery facility for collected wastes. 

During the community quarantine,the garbage collection was paused for a while so garbage piled up and the collection process was made even more challenging because they were only using one mini dump truck to collect all the wastes. As a response, the LGU decided to intensify the information drive about solid waste segregation through house to house campaigns. In addition, they also passed an ordinance for the proper disposal of PEE and encouraged urban container gardening with the help of the bio shredder that was 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.  

In Quezon City, several activities are being done to manage the city’s solid wastes like weekly cleanup drive, declogging operations and tree planting activities. In addition, they are also implementing the “no segregation,no collection” policy. 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.” Through the said program, Barangay Bagong Silangan received waste collection vehicles, gloves, face masks, and other PPE for their waste collectors.

Meanwhile,in Barangay Mintal,Davao City,Chairman Rey Bargamento shared that as early as 2013,Mintal has already been intensifying segregation at source.There was a high compliance but logistic limitations became a hindrance on their campaign.They had no collection schedule and only had one mini dump truck to cater 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 barangay closer to reality,” said Chairman Bargamento. 

For this year,PHINLA is set to carry out series of training activities for waste collectors,LGUs household members,and students. More units of pedicabs and motorbikes will also donated to its partner LGUs.

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