Zero waste is ideal, but still quite possible


The bottomline is to recycle as much waste, dispose of residuals, and never use plastics (bags and others) anymore because these cannot be recycled and these just pollute the earth.

A group of environmentalists urged Dumaguete City officials to strictly enforce the plastic bag regulation ordinance and the residents to segregate their waste during the at-source Waste Assessment and Brand Audit (WABA) conducted July 27.

In our house-to-house visits, we confirmed that many households do not segregate their waste and still utilize single-use plastics which become residual waste which comprises a huge bulk of their waste. It is only if we segregate our waste that we are able to manage them properly. Segregation allows us to compost biodegradable waste, capture and sell the recyclables, and dispose of the problematic products properly. This then drastically reduces the amount of waste that goes into the landfill.

At the forefront is the NGO War on Waste Break Free from Plastic Negros Oriental (WOW-BFFPNegrosOr), a collective of non-government organizations (NG0s), academics, and individuals brought together by their passion to help solve waste management challenges in Negros Oriental. It noted that despite the reboot early this year of the City Ordinance No. 231 series of 2011 which regulates the use of plastic bags, enforcement remains wanting.

Dumagueteños find it hard to learn that plastics cannot be recycled and millions of tons of it will just pollute our city’s ground and seas. So do not pollute the earth. Don’t use plastic. And for our suppliers, just don’t utilize plastic anymore. Our city government must enforce this if we have to succeed in disposing our garbage. The ban should be in full force now following the partial implementation in May to June through the Plastic Bag-Free Mondays at the public market, compliance is still low. The group also noticed that the majority of houses do not appear to segregate their waste.

Since July 18, WOW-BFFP-NegrosOr, together with participants of the Zero Waste Academy (ZWA) which includes representatives from Barangays Looc, Piapi, and Bantayan, as well as from the City Environment Office and DILG, have been working with the three barangays conducting baseline surveys, IECs on waste segregation, and actual garbage collection to prime the residents about the need for them to segregate their waste.

Volunteers from Looc, Piapi, and Bantayan have cleaned the area and added important features of an operational Materials Recovery Facility of MRF such as various composting methods designed for both garden waste and kitchen waste. This was done after they were taught about the critical steps in implementing a community Zero Waste program.

We hope these pilot areas will succeed and become an example for others. (By Merci Ferrer – Co-Convenor WOW-BFFT)