In the Waste Analysis Characterization (WACS) study done by Puerto Galera Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office (MENRO) back in 2012, it was found out that 60.39 % of the daily waste generated and collected by the municipality is biodegradable waste. The others were recyclable (9.31%) and residual wastes (29.34%).
However, according to local laws and ordinances, particularly the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2001 (Republic Act 9003), the municipality should only collect residual wastes. The village government units, the households and the business institutions should be responsible for their recyclable and biodegradable wastes. It seems that it is still a long way to go before people in Puerto Galera can significantly solve this huge issue.
The Environmental Awareness for Children and Youth (EACY) Club has started initiatives to solve this problem:
- Film showings to raise public awareness in various villages and local schools where the EACY Club members are present kicked off during the Earth Day last April 22. The films “The Great Pacific Garbage Patch” and “A Plastic Ocean” has reached 1,523 people since then.
- A garbage sorting station was recently installed inside the Stairway compound to serve as a model sorting station to be replicated in various partner schools and community all over the municipality. The EACY Club Chapter near Stairway has started utilizing the sorting station for the garbage they collected during their weekly cleanups. The plastics and other recyclable wastes collected will eventually be utilized to create art installations to be exhibited to the public to create more awareness about the plastic problem.
- As the new school year opens, the Stairway Theater opened its doors to pupils from various local elementary schools for the theatrical version of Dr. Seuss “the Lorax”. 1400 people from three schools came to Stairway to watch the performance. The garbage problem and how to solve it was discussed and the spectators went home with Lorax eco bags.
In the remaining months of the year, EACY Club plans to install sorting stations and composting facilities in each of the village where they are present. They also aim to implement 100% waste segregation among the households where their 400 members reside.
Contributed by Jason Arbarquez, EACY Coordinator, SFI